Changes.

We have been crazy busy lately. Nothing has been too different in terms of our schedule, but for whatever reason, I can’t carve out any time for myself. Now that it’s after 10, and the twins have been sleeping for 3.5 hours already, I’m finally sitting down. It’s not that I enjoy chores, but yet, I do enjoy the feeling after they are completed. The feeling of productivity – that I’m doing what is needed for my house and for my babies and I have something to show for it. After dinner clean-up, two batches of baby food, one load of cloth diapers, eight washed bottles, one nalgene bottle of formula made and a mini cleaning spree of every room on the ground floor later, and I’m done. My husband does this with me – he started the baby food and I finished, and we each took certain rooms in the house to work on. Of course, we’re going further than we normally might on a Thursday night but we have interviews this weekend. More on that in a few.

Anyway, things have been changing in my house, and that has caused me to lose my own time, and therefore blogging and sorting through pictures has taken a back seat. I love to take pictures – I do not love to sort through the hundreds that are waiting for me. That’s why I don’t like to get backed up with pictures – it’s a daunting task.

The babies had their 9 month check-up on Monday. B is just about 24 pounds, with his weight in the 90th percentile, height in the 50th, and head size – 100+. Off the charts. C had almost the exact same percentiles, except that she is 20.5 pounds. My babies apparently have big heads. The doctor was not concerned with their lack of physical development in terms of crawling and rolling around. They were born 5 weeks early after all, and she just sort of eased my worries about it. I can (and do) help them to make those strides with more tummy time, more coaxing them to shift their bodies around, but they will learn. B got his first tooth almost a month ago, and since then, 4 more have popped up. I’ve heard that when babies get their teeth late, many come at once, so that may be the case here. C still has no teeth and none to be seen under the gums either. In her own time. Luckily, B’s teeth haven’t seemed to cause him great concern – I was prepared for an insane amount of drool and to be honest, it’s not there. No bibs required.

However, naps – naps are BAD. B now takes two half hour naps a day and that’s it. C used to take two hour and 15 minute naps a day, but in the last few days, she’s been copying her brother. This is part of the reason I have no time. Luckily, they both sleep through the night. Thank goodness.

We’re hiring a nanny. Finally. We were going to hire a nanny back in February, but after doing a search last November, I basically came up empty. No one stood out to me and I wasn’t at all ready to go back to work. The mere thought of leaving my infants was the most devastating thing. I had the opportunity to stay home the rest of the school year and I decided to take it. It was the best decision I made, and I wouldn’t change it. However – now I do have to go back to work. And this time when I think about it, I don’t feel panicked. I feel – almost ready. I have no doubt I’ll be upset and more importantly, slightly paranoid, but it feels like something I’m prepared to do. I’m going to be a teacher again, and someone else is going to stay at home with my kids. I’m not currently cringing at that thought, and I always used to. This time when I did my nanny search, I wanted to make sure I found the right one. I just can’t settle.

This weekend, we have three interviews. And these three people already feel comfortable to me. They have the qualities I’m looking for – they seem like people I could trust. Granted, I haven’t met them in person yet. But at the end of the weekend, I’m hoping to have myself a nanny.

In other news, I’m thinking about making a change to my nutrition. I guess this doesn’t count as a change yet because I’m still thinking about it, but it’s there. I seem to be pretty healthy from the outside, but there are things that I wish I could change.

I’m already gluten free and that will stay – I’ve tried incorporating gluten back into my diet a few times and had terrible, painful results. I do not have Celiac’s Disease, but my stomach is clearly bothered by gluten. Interestingly enough, in college I had bouts of stomach illness almost every other day. It always occurred after dinner, and I thought stress might have caused it. A doctor called it IBS and psyllium husks helped. However, looking back I now wonder if it was related to gluten. Even though I’ve been gluten free for a while, I’ve simply replaced the gluten with other carbs. Gluten free bread, pasta, cookies – those products have added sugar to compensate for the lack of gluten. And sugar, I think, is my real enemy here.

I have chronic hives and have for years. I do know that I have flare ups when I consume sugar. Not every time, but most of the time. Yet, I eat it anyway. Why? Because it’s just too good to pass up. Even with the thought of hives that itch and cause my lips to swell – I still eat sugar. My infertility – PCOS was the main cause, but when combined with these autoimmune issues, I feel like I have a real hormonal imbalance. I have no scientific proof to this, but I wonder if sugar has something to do with it. I’m a big believer in diet changes affecting health, but I can’t seem to make the changes myself. I happened to see this on TV recently – a doctor said that you know you’re addicted to sugar if you can’t bear the thought of cutting it out of your diet. And that’s where I am.

I have cut out sugar before, and being sugar and gluten free was really challenging. What do you do for parties? For dinners out? No one wants to be the boring one, the one who can’t eat what everyone else is eating. So I tried it for a while and then I patted myself on the back for doing it for a short time and sort of relapsed, consuming all the sugar I could.

But I think for me, with my sensitive system and infertility and chronic hives – I think removing sugar from my diet would only help my body. And going sugar and gluten free wouldn’t mean that I would replace those ingredients with sugar substitutes and other types of flour – I think I really need a clean diet. Not quite Paleo necessarily, because that’s really, really hard. But eating fresh fruits, veggies, potatoes and brown rice (not giving those up) and healthy meats and fats – I just feel like I’d feel better. I haven’t made this change yet, see, because I ate all the candy today. All of it. And I’m sluggish, and tired, and gaining weight because I eat like a teenager. So in this regard, there are some changes that need to be made. I just haven’t decided if I’m going to make them or not. If I have the mental strength on tough, exhausting days NOT to reach in the cabinet and eat something junky. With sugar. Ugh.

And here are some pics from our week that I have already sorted through!

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Attached and behind.

I guess this is a 2-part post: Attached – speaking of myself, and behind – speaking of my babies.

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(In no way does this part of the post apply to today. Today I wanted to run from my home screaming and waving a white flag, to the nearest liquor store ice cream stand. Today was unusual and therefore doesn’t count.)

I’ve been thinking a lot about the “right” time for a parent to leave a child for an unspecified amount of time. It seems to me that as babies get older, there appears to be this pressure, a societal pressure, for a mom to leave her kids. Maybe for a few hours (just to get away and take a break), maybe for the evening (perhaps for a girls’ night), maybe for an overnight (romantic evening with the husband). Maybe for a weekend, maybe for a week…etc. This idea is clouded in the thought that a child who isn’t away from you enough will have dependency issues later in life, or at the very least, will be traumatized when that first time ever does come.

I believe that all moms (and dads of course) want to be a good parent; they want to do the right thing. And in our heads we have 1) our intuition – what our gut tells us, 2) what our mothers and MIL’s tell us – yes, it gets its own category, 3) what our friends tell us, and 4) what we see in the media.  Frequently, all four of those sources are completely contradictory. But we make our choices anyway, and we sometimes judge those who’ve done something different. It’s hard not to do, I have to admit. I don’t see anything wrong with having opinions – not every parental choice made by others is something I would do, certainly. But judging is entirely different.

So that’s why I’m currently fighting the societal pressure that tells us new moms that we need to leave our children. Now – I’m not saying my twins shouldn’t spend some time with other people. They absolutely should. And they will. But they’re 8 months old, and this stage is temporary.

The truth is, 99.9% of the time (excluding today, which just ruined my 100%, damn.) I’m totally and completely satisfied at home, doing my job, being a temporary stay-at-home-mom. See for me, I know full well that this is something I will not be doing forever – in fact, it has an end date this summer. I’ve been lucky enough to take a full year off from work, and I’ve taken my new gig very seriously. I’m with my twins all day and all night. 24/7. And to me, my babies are still new. I still can’t believe I have them, after infertility and pregnancy scares. I don’t take them for granted for a second, and I also just enjoy what I’m doing. I find it fun to make toys and think up games, and watch the little wheels turn as my kids start to figure out their world. I enjoy the process. So I’m not in a rush to walk out the door.

I guess you could say I’m attached. Before I had these babies, I didn’t really have hobbies. I haven’t had hobbies since high school, when my hobbies were related to the clubs I joined in school – chorus, softball, band. But after that, everything else I’ve done has just been a filler – waiting to be a mom. So I no longer feel empty, and I don’t feel like I’m missing out on life by staying home with my kids. This IS my life. This is what I’ve been waiting for, it’s what I wanted.

I do believe in maintaining relationships – those with spouses, with friends, with parents..with whoever. That is very important, and if it becomes necessary to leave the kids at home in order to complete that maintenance, then fine. But I’ve tried to convince myself I need to get out, I need to do my own thing, and I just can’t figure out what I would do. Run to Target and what, buy baby clothes? Write – about babies? Practice my photography on….babies? I’ve never been a drinker, I’ve never been a shopper. Parenting is my hobby.

This sort of stemmed from a new mom’s group I considered joining. I’ve been taking the babies to playgroups and enjoy it, so I found this new one and we all went to their “member social”. What I assumed would be at least 10 moms chatting about their babies and planning fun playgroups was actually 3 moms planning multiple mom’s night out gatherings and jewelry parties and complaining about their exes. That wasn’t about the kids – that was about the moms. And that’s fine – I’m not judging…I was just surprised, and it’s not at all what I am looking for. But for those moms, they obviously needed to leave their homes and their kids, often. And as I inquired about the things that would involve children, they started to look at me as if I had three heads.

I’m just not in a rush to walk out the door. I will have to, come August, and through the rest of my working days. I will NEVER have the opportunity to stay at home for this length of time again. It’s the one and only time. I’m soaking it in, I’m loving almost every minute. I’m attached. And though I’ve been questioning myself lately, I stand by it. I’m doing what feels right.

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On a separate note, I’m a little concerned that my babies are behind. Now – I’m well aware of the cliche phrase, “Every child develops at his or her own pace”. I know. I also know that my twins will not go off to kindergarten in their current state. I know the changes will occur – that is not the question. But I do wonder if they are behind in when those changes happen.

Like I said before, we’ve been to a lot of playgroups lately. I read the forums and the blogs. I watch Kate Middleton’s baby play with those New Zealand babies (by the way, he’s super cute, but WHO CARES what toy Prince George stole from another baby?) All of these children are my kids’ age, 8-9 months. My twins will be 9 months next week, so we’re close. And they don’t do NEARLY what these children are doing.

My twins don’t really do much, to be perfectly honest. They don’t crawl, they don’t roll around, C doesn’t even roll over and B only does in his sleep. If they fall over, they are beetles on their backs, legs kicking. They don’t have a pincer grasp, they don’t stand up while holding onto things, they don’t clap their hands, wave good-bye, or understand peekaboo. They don’t show a real desire for “adult” food. Therefore, they don’t eat finger foods and when I try, they 1) can’t pick up the food and 2) if they happen to get a piece in their fingers, they don’t know to bring their hands to their mouths and eat it.

I’m just a little worried – again, not as in “will my babies ever do this?” Obviously they won’t eat pureed fruits and veggies forever. But it’s just…unnerving to be with other babies who are so, so much more advanced than my twins. It’s just a weird feeling – it’s hard not to question myself and wonder if I should be doing more.

That all said, they were born 5 weeks early. Okay, sure. But they’ve physically closed that gap, for sure (C is 20 pounds, B is 23 pounds) and other milestones have been reached. 5 weeks behind isn’t THAT much, is it?

Here’s what they DO  do – they sit. They grab toys with their fingers. They lean way over to try and reach something. B jumps, and jumps, and jumps. When on his stomach on a hardwood floor, he pushes with his hands, forcing his whole body backwards. C has done this once herself, though she hates being on her stomach, still. C examines items closely – she’s currently obsessed with our cabinet doors. B laughs hysterically at the dogs. They respond to song. C gives kisses. B has a third tooth coming in (C has NO teeth still!). They babble. C finally puts the pacifier back in her mouth herself. They shake rattles. They laugh at each other, they cry when the other cries. They look real adorable when we go to playgroup and I put them in a sitting position and they sit next to each other, not moving the entire time, except to stretch out to reach for a toy.

So it’s not like they don’t do things, it’s just that – they’re so BIG, and they just don’t do much. I know, enjoy it now before they’re mobile..etc. But that phrase is similar to “enjoy the quiet on bed rest before the baby comes” – yeah…not so much. You can’t enjoy something that concerns you.

Anyway, is it 100% out of my control? And if not, what should I be doing to encourage these milestones, besides just more tummy time?

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I’m learning new tricks.

Every day is a new adventure for a first time parent. I so often find myself discovering something and thinking aloud, “Well, next time I’ll remember not to do that…” There are constant lessons to be learned. Some of these things I learn are fun, others just practical. I got some of both this week.

For fun, I am playing around with my other hobby (besides blogging), photography, and I have just learned what “catchlight” is. Those who take pictures probably already knew this. I knew what it meant, but didn’t know it had a name. “Catchlight” – when the subject you are taking pictures of “catches” the light in his/her eyes, making them sparkle and look REALLY good. When I take pictures, I’m obsessed with eyes. If a picture is going to be a close-up, it’s really all about the eyes anyway, isn’t it? I don’t know if or when my twins’ eye colors will change, but considering my husband and I both have brown eyes, it’s a good possibility that it’ll happen. So for now, I want to capture the beautiful deep blue of C’s eyes, and the mysterious gray of B’s while I can.

So, I just learned about “catchlight”. For those who don’t know, if you want to see some sparkle in your subject’s eyes, you need to position them so that there is a light source on their face. As a novice, completely unprofessional photographer, I find that I absolutely love natural light. A lightbulb or some fancy props won’t do – you really only need the sun. So, when I’m bored on a Friday and want to practice this new skill, I plunk my twins down near my light source and throw them some toys. In the mornings, it’s on my dining room floor in front of the slider. In the afternoons, it’s upstairs in the extra bedroom. Wherever the light source is, that’s where the best pictures will be. This morning, we tried out the dining room floor. B wasn’t having it – he had no desire to look up at me for any reason. But C played along, as she typically does. I focused on getting the light to land right on her face, turned my camera to “no flash”, zoomed in, and waited. Here are a few of the results:

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You can actually see the reflection of the slider in C’s eyes, which is almost the goal. I find it extremely satisfying to capture catchlight in my twins, and it’s really, really easy to do. I have a nice SLR camera. I don’t know how to use it. I also don’t have any photography props in my house – no screens or anything. I just turn off the flash, and find the sun.  The other little trick that goes with this is to position yourself all around your subject. Get them to look up, look sideways, look out…whatever. You can get some extra eye sparkles that way! You can clearly see the difference when you don’t have catchlight:

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Still a cute picture – but without the “pop” of the eyes.

I’ve also learned that you can take really good “catchlight” photos on a phone as well. A fancy camera isn’t necessary all the time. This picture was taken on my iphone, with sunlight pouring in through the slider:

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So that was the new fun trick I learned this week.

My practical trick is related to getting out of the house. If you’re leaving the house with twins (or one baby, or five) – give yourself an extra amount of time. It’s going to take longer than you think, every. single. time. And if it’s going to take THAT long…you might just want to stay home.

We went to a new playgroup. I really wanted something on Fridays and I found a group a few towns over for babies around my twins’ age, which is perfect. Today’s meeting was at a library. Unfortunately many playgroups start around 10 or 10:30 in the morning, and the babies’ first nap starts between 9:00-9:30. On a day like today, when I knew we’d be traveling, I made sure to have them sleeping at 9:00, which I did. When 10:00 came, we had to go in order to spend any time at this new playgroup, which was running from 10:00-12:00.

I had to wake both babies from the nap at 10:00, which is always a painful thing. It took 40 minutes to get there – we hit EVERY light, I was followed by a police officer for a while, every senior citizen in existence was out driving…etc. We got there. There was no parking. Like, NO parking. What library has no parking? I had to park down the street, down a very busy main road. I got the stroller out. I got the two car seats out. I hooked them into the stroller. We got to the front of the library and couldn’t find a ramp. What library doesn’t have a ramp? Finally found it, went inside. How do you get to the playgroup? You have to take an elevator. First time pushing a double stroller into an elevator – which was pitch black, by the way. What elevator is pitch black inside? Found the playgroup, met 4 moms and their babies. I didn’t realize it was a library-sponsored playgroup for any age child, so there were big kids running around everywhere. We sat in a circle. There were no toys for babies. What library doesn’t have baby toys? The babies sat on the rug and stared around for an hour. I chatted. Both babies pooped. I changed them. Because we arrived at 11:00, 12:00 came quickly. The babies normally drink their bottles at 11:30. Back in the car seat, back in the stroller, down the street, back in the car, and the babies are hungry. They’re STARVING. I didn’t bring their bottles. C screamed her little heart out for at least 25 minutes on the way back. Harder than she’s probably ever cried. What kind of terrible mother starves her children?? Oops.

We got back, C passed out from crying, I heated bottles, they ate an hour late. We were all exhausted. We went on with our day. Worth it?

I’m not sure yet.

There were many lessons to be learned here in this situation, but one of them is possibly that it’s not worth going to a playgroup if it takes 40 minutes to get there. Poor babies, I felt so bad.

Here are a few more pictures from our week:

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B being a silly boy.

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He does want to crawl. He’s actually starting to move….backwards. It’s something I guess.

 

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Rocking the matching hoodies. C’s is a little small, B’s is a little big – but hers is size 6 months, and his is size 18 months.

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Okay, I know this one looks odd. Here’s the story: I was changing B’s diaper on the rug. I was about to change his whole outfit, hence the un-done snaps. C was sitting next to him, and she started to lean toward him. Well, she has just learned how to give kisses, and with no prompting from me (I quick grabbed my phone just in case), she bent over to give her brother kisses. Again and again and again. It was SO sweet. I think B thought she was going to “baby bird” him, so he went along with it. The picture looks kind of weird, and possibly inappropriate, but I assure you, it was the CUTEST thing ever. Affection toward her brother – a first for Lil C.

And that was our week!

Liebster Award

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It’s been quite a while but I was nominated for the Liebster Award by Tales of a Twin Mombie (Thank you!!)  I love how the blogging community is so supportive of each other, and for me, that was through infertility and now as a mother!

Here are the questions that were given to me:

1. Do you have any exciting plans for the summer? If so, what?

My exciting plans are living a summer life with two children in it, which is something new. I’m a teacher and have the luxury of summers off, so I am super excited to do kid-like things with my twins – go to the playground, museums, zoos, the beach, hang out in the backyard, etc. I also plan to take the babies to Maine and New Hampshire. Luckily, they’ll be turning one in July, so they’ll be at an age where they will appreciate the fun things we do. I’m so, so excited to be a summer mom.

2. The Voice or American Idol?!

I used to love American Idol (think: Carrie Underwood) in its best days. But I actually can’t stand it anymore, what with stupid drama between judges and the talent not being…as good as it once was. It seems a bit desperate for ratings now, and I don’t like that. I like The Voice a lot better – but to be honest, I don’t really watch either of them!

3. What was your favorite subject in high school? Why?

English, for sure. Always kind of a deep thinker, I LOVED teachers who got me thinking and asking questions about myself, my relationships, my world, all because of a great novel or set of poems. I was lucky enough to have amazing English teachers all my life, which surely helped develop my love of writing and reflection.

4. Favorite place to buy products for your home? (Think Ikea, Home Goods, etc.)

My house is a mess. Embarrassingly so. Every weekend, it’s “what projects are we tackling today?” when we wake up, but then I go about my normal day of taking care of 8 month old twins, and even with my husband’s help…the day doesn’t really look much different than the previous 5 before it. I have no time.

I’m making excuses, but my point is…not only do I not buy products for my home, but I wouldn’t have anywhere to put them unless they went on the walls. That’s quite pathetic. However, if I DID buy products for my home…I do like Home Goods for cheap decorations. What I really like in a home, and what I would do if I had the time, would be to 1) put up more pictures. I love to fill walls with pictures. And 2) to “decorate” with some fabulous storage. I really enjoy organization, hence why I go crazy in my house. I’d go to The Container Store and have a blast. I’d put up shelves and just bask in the glory of filling up containers, nice and neat, with all of my crap. I’d label the storage containers and sit back and enjoy my handy-work. My house would look neat and I wouldn’t be embarrassed with the clutter that fills our rooms.

5. What are you looking forward to the most this week?

Last week, my babies were sick and we couldn’t really leave the house. This week, I’m all about trying to get out of the house and get back into our routine. Plus, we may have temperatures that aren’t below freezing, so that’s something. Finally, Auntie is coming home for the weekend and she hasn’t seen the babies in a very long time! :)

6. What was the last movie you saw in the movie theatre? What did you think about it?

I honestly cannot even tell you. It’s been years.

7. Facebook or Twitter? Why?

I loathe the idea of social media in some of its forms, for some of its uses, and for the way it is all-consuming to seemingly everyone on the planet, but then I’m a total hypocrite and have both. I use facebook, though, to post pictures of my twins and look at my friends’ pictures as well. It can be slightly addicting, yes.

8. Why are you a wordpress blogger?

I started this blog a few years ago because I was going though fertility treatments and really needed to find other people in the same boat, which I did. I continue to blog because I enjoy writing, I enjoy my babies, and I enjoy reading other’s blogs as well, so I figure if I’m reading the blogs of others, they may be reading mine.

9. If you could give me a piece of parenting advice, what would it be?

I’m not totally sure – some days I feel like I’ve got this thing down, but then there are moments where I worry. Many moments. I think the advice I would continue to give myself is that it’s okay to worry, and to ponder, and to google, and to do whatever makes you feel better when it comes to parenting, but at the same time, there are things that are out of your control and you just have to go with it.

That’s hard for me. Random people touching my babies? Stupid comments made to myself or my children? Situations that make me think, this isn’t exactly what I want right now…but then, can I ignore it? Can I move on? Will it hurt the babies in the long run?

No? Okay, deep breath. Continue with the day.

I guess that’s not advice for others – it’s for me. I enjoy taking control of my children’s lives and making decisions on their behalf, and I do 99% of the time. That 1% – you’ve just got to let go. And I do.

10. If you could be stuck wearing a pair of shoes for the rest of your life, what pair would you pick and why?

Out of all my shoes – my Ugg boots are the most comfy, quickest to put on, not terribly ugly and very sturdy and for those reasons, I choose them.

Here are the blogs I am nominating:

1) Space Monkey Twins - a new friend, fellow twin mom whose babies are so cute and her drawings – amazing!!!

2) After the Finish Line – another twin mom, she posts the most adorable pictures of her boy/girl twins!

3) Scrambled Eggs – I have been following Belle for a very long time and she now has the sweetest little girl close to my twins’ age. Check her out!

4) Journey to the Finish Line – this twin mom has been lovely to follow, as her babies are a few months older than mine and it’s nice to see what’s coming down the pike for me!

Those are just a few of the many I read and follow – but it’s 9:45 and I have 5,892 chores still to do tonight. :) Blog before chores…

Questions:

1) What is the oddest dream you’ve ever had?

2) What is your biggest success in your life thus far? Your biggest wish-you-could-do-over?

3) Name 5 foods you couldn’t stop eating unless you were absolutely forced to.

4) Do you feel like an “adult”? What are some of the things in your daily life that remind you that you 1) are an adult but 2) don’t feel like one?

5) Who was your favorite teacher? What made him/her your favorite?

6) If you weren’t doing your current job, what career would you have instead?

7) Name one talent you wish you had. What would you do with it?

8) What was your favorite childhood book?

9) You get a week’s free vacation to go anywhere in the world. Where do you go and who do you bring with you?

10) What’s your biggest pet peeve?

I leave with my new favorite picture, my twins cracking up at each other. Makes my day!

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Still Sick!

This “cold” the babies have is finishing up its 6th day. Last Sunday it started as sneezing, fussiness, one afternoon of a mild fever and then a runny nose (and projectile vomiting..damn Tylenol) and as the week went on, I thought we were in the clear. But then a cough took over, becoming a very wet cough and then last night it turned into all-out barking. They are both having coughing fits that wake them from their sleep, poor babies. I hate to see them sick.

The barking was my cue that it was time for a doctor visit. So instead of going to playgroup (a good move for sure), I schlepped the babies to the doctor.

Diagnosis – Bronchiolitis for B, double ear infection for C. Geez – no wonder they didn’t feel good!

I felt terrible I hadn’t gone to the doctor sooner, but the P.A. did say that if I had, the babies might not have shown these symptoms and it would’ve been written off as “just a cold”. Regardless…terrible!

And I’m a newbie with sick babies, this is the first time they’ve been ill. So it’s hard to see, and at the same time, they want extra love that is hard to give with two. And there’s snot EVERYWHERE in my house. Separating toys is a challenge, but I do wash all the plastic ones every night.

That’s all manageable, but it’s the coughing fits that are so sad. With B, his breathing was actually a little labored so he is using a nebulizer for the weekend. C just has her antibiotic.

A quick look online told me that bronchiolitis usually comes from something else – mainly RSV. As a former NICU parent of preemies, those three letters were something I was praying my children didn’t get. In preemies it can be extremely, extremely dangerous. I am so thankful that mine were born in July, not during the main season, or we would’ve been on lockdown. That said, all children under the age of 2 get RSV at some point, but it’s not severe and disguises itself as a cold. So the likelihood that my twins have RSV is quite high, leading to bronchiolitis for B and a double ear infection for C. I shudder at those letters…but I’m SO grateful that it’s happening now, when my babies are hefty and healthy, and not when they were so fragile. So thankful for that.

Fun fact – bronchiolitis has a correlation with asthma in children. Researchers aren’t exactly sure how this connection came to be, but many children who have bronchiolitis as a baby go on to have asthma later in life. This sucks, but wouldn’t really surprise me as my husband had asthma as a child and B is an EXACT mini version of my husband, including all of his (minor) health issues.

In other news, the babies were weighed today for the first time since their 6 month check up and I’m happy to report that B is only 22.5 pounds! This means he can still use the doorway jumper that has a weight limit of 25 pounds! The jumper is his absolute favorite thing…and I’m dreading when he outgrows it, way faster than I would have expected. So he’s still got 3 pounds to go, thank goodness.

And Lil C isn’t really so little either – she’s certainly more petite than B with tiny feet, hands, and stubby legs, but she’s 19.5 pounds, and for an 8 month old, I think that’s not too bad.

We survived the week, despite the illnesses and not being able to go to 3 baby events that would’ve kept me sane. Next week, I’m hoping we can at least attend one and get out of the house.

What we did do, though, is go to Costco, where the babies enjoyed sitting in a cart for the first time. Did I pack wipes? Yes. Did I leave them on my kitchen counter? Yes.

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And then decided it was time to go home…

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Holding hands…so presh.

And then they promptly melted down in the car on the way home. No picture of that one.

Not much to go on this week, but here’s a few:

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Digging through the picnic basket – that’s their favorite toy right now.

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Just practicing being a man, rubbing the gut, while trying out his new baby leggings.

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I just place her in things and she tolerates it. Thanks, C.

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DIY baby/toddler toys: Sensory Bottles and Treasure Baskets

Sick day(s)!

I think I remember calling my twins’ first illness “a cold” in my last post. As in, just a cold. Some sneezing and sniffles, nothing a mom can’t handle, right? Well. Not 10 minutes after I published that post on Saturday night, Lil C woke up crying. When I went up there, I found she couldn’t take her pacifier because she couldn’t breathe through her nose. While B lay in his crib a few feet away, I tried suctioning out C’s nose which not only didn’t work, but made her cry louder. Then I panicked, thinking she might be in some pain, and gave her Tylenol, which in my arms, she projectile vomited that and her bedtime bottle of 9 ounces all over the babies’ floor.

With C now really crying, my husband is trying to clean up the milk/Tylenol mess because the Tylenol is RED, and the carpet is TAN. (Ah, that’s why we should’ve chosen a darker color rug) He’s using a flashlight to scrub, C is screaming and now B’s awake, crying as well. I’m COMPLETELY covered in vomit.

Good times. And she was up all night, coughing and gagging on what was dripping down her throat.

Now, a few days later, we are skipping playgroup but slowly on the mend. Still lots of mucous of all colors, stuffy, coughing, terrible sleep – these babies are a mess. What little cold was I thinking of? Two nights ago, I found that C could breathe better if she were straight up and down. Elevating the mattress wasn’t enough. So I pulled up a rocking chair in the next room, and we snuggled in for the night. I got no sleep, but C was breathing better. Last night, she luckily was okay in her crib.

Anyway, this isn’t a little cold by any means. It’s so hard to see your babies suffering and being so sad. There wasn’t any fever though, just strictly a nasty cold with lots of tears and yuck.

And of course, all four of us have this cold now. In the future, I’m wondering how parents possibly avoid getting whatever illness their children have. I don’t think it’s possible – especially with babies who need to be held and snuggled. So we all feel crappy.

 

Since we are home and have been recuperating the last few days, I decided to bring out some new toys for the babies to enjoy. I’ve been on a DIY kick lately, and have a few projects in the works. I have to give credit where it is due – the majority of the projects I’m working on come from The Imagination Tree – this woman is amazing. Her ideas are cheap and easy, and awesome for kids. Here are a few completed toys:

Sensory Bottles

I’ve been working on this one for a while. For a cheap set of toys for babies or toddlers, sensory bottles are a great way to change up what your child plays with every day. You can be really creative, make many bottles, or just a few, but it’s so easy to do.

First, I collected water bottles. We only had the larger, standard size at the time which is fine for older babies, but the younger ones can grab onto the smaller bottles easier. After washing the bottles and caps and letting them air dry, I filled them with an assortment of items I either had around the house or bought at the dollar store. Some have water added and some do not. I super-glued the caps on, and I keep them in a basket. SO easy!

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From left to right, here are the bottles I made:  1)Water with pink plastic hearts and small beads, 2) Pompoms of different sizes, 3) Water with silver glitter (you need a lot of glitter for a good shake!), 4) Pipe cleaners, 5) water with standard colored beads, 6) small bottle with plastic buttons of different colors, 7) small bottle with plastic necklaces, and 8) Water with yellow food coloring and dish soap

*Another great one that I haven’t yet made is ripped up pieces of tin foil – so shiny!

Again, you can be creative or not, add whatever you’d like, but the idea is to stimulate the different senses. I have a few bottles that make loud noises when you shake them, a few that are great for future color identification or counting, and a few that show slow movement and are great for visual stimulation.

So far the babies love to shake the two smaller bottles, and hold onto/look at/try to eat the bigger bottles.

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Part of my reason for making some of my own toys is that I can keep them for years and use them for different purposes as the babies get older. Right now, they’re all about making the bottles crackle and looking at the colors and shine, but in the future I’m hoping to use the bottles for counting, rolling, and that sort of thing.

 

Treasure Baskets

What I like most about this idea is that you can store these baskets away and bring them out on a rainy day or when the babies are fussy. Or, in this case, on our Sick Day when we need a pick-me-up.

Using cheap baskets from the dollar store, I filled one with regular items from around my house that are safe for babies. We have so many light up, sing-song toys in our house that are great but also do the work for the babies. Treasure baskets are supposed to be for exploration – you put in items that aren’t toys, giving children the opportunity to feel and discover different materials.

I’ve only made one basket so far, but I’d like to make a few with different themes. The Imagination Tree shows baskets full of wood products (like a wooden spoon, wooden blocks, etc), soft textures, crinkly textures, and so on.

This basket has a variety of items from around my house but not with any theme to it.IMG_4242

As you can see, there is a pot holder (clean and new :) ), a bath mit, two fake foods, measuring cups and spoons, etc.

I gave this basket to the babies for the first time and it kept them happily engaged for a good half hour, which in baby time = forever.

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Checking out the basket for the first time..

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They seemed to really enjoy the contents of the basket. And it was great for their fine motor development, as they had to use their fingers/whole hands to pick up oddly shaped items. For the first time, I witnessed C with something in her right hand but an item on her right side she wanted to grab. She transferred what was in her right hand to her left, and then grabbed the object on the floor.

It’s the little things.

Treasure baskets are awesome for different textures and sizes. As the babies get older, you can still use these for toddlers but can switch out any of the items for things that might be more appropriate for their level.

With sick babies who only took a half hour nap (ugh) this is all I’ve got time for at the moment! I’m hoping to make more toys – it’s very satisfying for me and good for the babies.

For now, it’s time to bring out the basket again I think, this cold has them quite fussy…

More firsts = more pictures

I wonder if I’ll continue to take as many pictures of my twins in future years as I do now. In the moment, I’m always thinking, “Oh! This is the first time they’ve ______, I need a picture!” But there will always be firsts – so I guess there will always be pictures. I don’t scrapbook, I don’t write letters to my kids (though I really should and would love to) – I take pictures. I have always enjoyed using a camera, even as a child making albums of nature pictures and trips to the zoo, and now I have these cute little subjects that live with me and spend all day with me, just tempting me to take their pictures. Most of them I keep away from the internet (surprising, with the number that still are put on the blog and facebook), but after I take them all (hundreds a month) either on my phone or my camera, I transfer them to my computer where I pick the best from them and add them to an “album” folder. In every group of 30 pictures I take of a situation, I try to pick the best 1 or 2. Then at the end of each month, I print out all of these keepers at Walgreens and put them into an album. For reference, I recently finished the album for 0-6 months, about 450 pictures. I’ve started the new album of the same size, 6-12 months. My recent trend seems to be between 80-100 “keeper” pictures a month that make the album. If I continue this pattern – well, by the time they’re 18, that’s a lot of albums.

This seems insane – thinking of it this way makes me feel a little nuts. I have ONE album of myself as a baby/toddler – I know I looked through it many, many times growing up, but are my babies going to want to browse through 837 albums of them eating peas, biting toys, sitting in the stroller, trying to roll over naked?

Probably not. But I can’t help myself. I feel compelled to TAKE the pictures, and then to keep them as I can’t bear to delete a memory I would otherwise forget, print them out, and look at them multiple times. I guess I’m crazy. My guess is that years from now, I’ll go back through these albums and take out pictures that right now seem essential to an album, but might not be later on. And when I go back to work in September (sniff) I won’t be around the babies all day and won’t see the cute things that make me whip out my camera (SO sad) and therefore – there will be fewer pictures. UGH. The thought of that – of missing something, doesn’t make me feel good. I wonder if my nanny can take pictures for me…

Anyway, this week proved there’s no stopping my camera adventures as the babies experienced more firsts, both good and bad.

B popped his first tooth finally, at 8 months old. It’s still small, a little spike, but it’s there and he’s making the weirdest faces and noises, trying to figure out what’s in his mouth. I was surprised by the lack of drool – I expected buckets to just pour out – but that never happened. He drooled a little, but barely even enough to warrant a bib. He didn’t seem to be in a ton of pain either – maybe a little fussier for a few days but that was it.

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I made this picture large; you can kind of see it on the bottom as B goes in for the kill on that plastic fork. No teeth for C still, but she’s definitely teething. I would expect her first to come out soon.

They both got their first “real” cold this week. At 3 months, they had a minor cold, with sneezing and more naps and just generally looking glazed over, but it lasted two days. They (thankfully) went all winter without being sick. Now that we’re out in the world more, seeing and touching more people, I’m not surprised they caught a cold. B has it worse – yucky gunk just pouring from his nose, down his throat and making him cough. C has some mucous but it’s very deep in her nose – I hear it when she breathes but nothing comes out. Lots of sneezing, glassy eyes…etc. A cold. I have the humidifier cranked up and I’m using the suction thingy on B’s nose. He absolutely hates it. But it does work, so it’s a necessary evil. (Sidebar – anyone use that suction hose thing that you put in your mouth to suck the gunk out? I’m COMPLETELY grossed out by that but it’s supposed to be all the rage.) He was super fussy a few days ago as this cold was coming on, but he was better today.

 

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No smiles for a few days, he didn’t feel good! But better now:

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My babies are finally showing some small signs that when I say certain things, they understand me. There might actually be some basic communication between us, and that’s a BIG first. It makes me realize that as they start to really understand what I’m saying, I’m really parenting. I’m not just taking care of two little dolls who poop and eat and cry. It’s cool and crazy all at once. B and C both demonstrate this, but C seems determined to make sense of what I’m saying. She watches everything I say and do like a hawk.

This week, she learned to give “kisses”. I know, not a big deal, but after many times of me kissing her and saying “kiss, kiss” while her mouth was open, she all of a sudden does it on command. If I ask for a kiss, she leans in, open-mouthed, like she’s going to bite my face but she doesn’t, she’s gentle. It’s SO cute.

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I don’t have a picture of that, so instead I’ll give you a picture of C getting kissed by the dogs. B gets kissed by the dogs, too.

DSC_0342I know..it’s kind of gross. I can’t completely prevent it, and I’ll allow it when it makes for a good picture :-p but then I’m there with the wipes…

C was very good this week and allowed me to play with my camera settings one afternoon while B was sleeping (which is what C should have been doing)…

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I’ve been using baby sign language for 2 months now. I kept it simple, being consistent only with “eat”, “more”, and “all done”. I’ve occasionally used “jump”, “diaper”, and “water” as well, but not enough for the babies to learn them. And no, they haven’t signed back yet – for the most part.

Yesterday and today, C wasn’t into her solids, and when I would ask if she wanted “more”, instead of opening her mouth excitedly she would clamp her lips shut. First of all, that tells me she might know what “more” means, which is exciting. I had a feeling the babies might be getting it a little, because when I first ask if they want to “eat”, they both move their lips like they’re chewing. But anyway, yesterday and today C suddenly threw her hands up and down. Like an excited baby, except she wasn’t excited to eat; she didn’t want to eat. I took it and ran with it yesterday, calling it “all done” – it was close enough to the sign, waving my hands side to side. Today she did the same thing, she threw her hands up and down and refused to eat anything else. I called it “all done” and took her food away. She MIGHT be signing “all done”. Or I might be completely insane, but I’m going with it.

My husband has been working crazy hours, both during the week and on weekends, so finally today we decided to go on a family date, which we really have never done. We had 2 “firsts” – we went on a walk through the woods and then out to eat, like at a restaurant. I know it sounds crazy to think I’ve not taken my babies to a restaurant yet but when you have two…it’s just too much. Too much work, too much crying, too many carseats to lug..etc. I’m sure many other twin moms have done it sooner and more power to you. The thought of it, up until now, just did not appeal to me. We chose a quieter place for their first time and plunked them in highchairs, and it went SO smoothly. They happily played with toys and never fussed. I definitely feel more confident to do this, though I’m not digging the idea of doing it alone. It’s a two-adult job for sure.

IMG_4176We ate pizza, they ate Sophie(s).

 

I have no doubt that next week will bring more “firsts” which of course means…..more pictures.

 

The last day of breastfeeding

When my twins were born 35 weeks ago today, at just about 35 weeks into my pregnancy, I told the lactation consultant that I wanted to breastfeed. I have always wanted to breastfeed. Honestly, it’s all a blur now but I know I pumped. I remember pumping in the hospital. I recall doing it in the middle of the night. But both babies were also automatically put on preemie formula as well, right away. I was so concerned with them being small, I didn’t care. And I still don’t.

I could never have counted on my hormone issues getting in the way of my milk production, or how exhausted I was that I did not pump around the clock like I was supposed to. I think I did – for a few weeks maybe, but I honestly cannot remember. When the babies were eating every few hours all night long – I don’t know if I pumped after that. I didn’t realize at the time that I wasn’t helping my milk supply out in the slightest. I think it would’ve been a battle anyway, as I never really got a normal supply. It never fully came.

Luckily, I had some milk. At its peak, I was able to provide the twins with about 1/3 of each meal in breastmilk and the rest in formula. I’m also very lucky that there wasn’t any nipple confusion – they both took to breast and bottle. C had some latch issues for a while, mostly related to sucking/swallowing. But she got the hang of it.

B has always been a great eater, and my trickle of milk wasn’t cutting it for him – he wanted lots of milk and he wanted it NOW. So at 6 months, after fighting with him at the beginning of every feed only for him to cry and turn away, I stopped breastfeeding him. I gave him my pumped milk, but that was not enough for much at all. I didn’t sweat it too much because he was growing at this rapid pace, and I still had C.

Well…C’s appetite has grown as well. I could always count on her to latch on, close her eyes and snuggle in – clearly comforted by me. THE BEST. I never got that with B, so I’m thankful to have experienced it with at least one baby. But the 1/3 of the meal turned into an ounce or two, which turned into me counting gulps (15-30), which turned into a few gulps, which turned into sips. The milk isn’t there, and C doesn’t need the comfort as often as she used to. She’s pulling away, smiling; nothing comes out.

As I’m the type of anal retentive person who likes to start new things on Mondays, or the 1st of the month, I like to end things on a rounded date too. So at 8 months old two days ago, I let breastfeeding C go. What I’ve done since is put her to breast if she’s calm, usually in the mornings, and give her the chance, just to hang out for a minute. But I’ve mentally let it go (I feel like I should be singing that “Frozen” song) -allowing myself to release the guilt if the rest of the day I don’t do it. If it seems like a good time, I will. But otherwise, we’re about done. It’s not even about the milk at this point, as she’s not getting any, but that experience that’s coming to an end.

So it’s sad. As someone who formula fed, who wanted to exclusively breastfeed, I’ve come to see that other side of things. People can be very critical of those who don’t breastfeed, but my babies are healthy. To date they’ve had one minor cold at 3 months (knocking on wood..). I keep them safe, comfortable, I show them new experiences,  I throw dance parties and sing lullabies, I couldn’t possibly love them anymore than I do. But I didn’t breastfeed like I wanted to, and now I’m just sort of…trying to let that go.

Probably what is sadder isn’t that we’re done breastfeeding (though I’ll always miss that snuggle session) – but that C and B are at an age where this is even a discussion. They’re BIG. Those with toddlers would look at my babies and note how tiny they are. But to me, they are giant creatures to be picked up using your knees and not your back. They lose parts of infancy, but gain new things too. It’s part of life – it’s just sad, sometimes.

We went to a playgroup for the first time, the day after the library meltdown from B. This group was quiet, with only 3 other (older) kids. It was calm and relaxing. The babies had a GREAT time, and I did too.

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But now I look back on these pictures and feel like these babies look like preschoolers. When did this all HAPPEN??

B has turned a few corners. He now sleeps on his stomach, and we’re officially done with the swing for naps. It was a tough transition into the pack n play (two babies both napping in the same room = disaster), but he’s got it down now. So cute!! If only he could remember how to roll BACK, that would be fabulous.

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And just today I felt the tiniest little spike and saw a small, sharp white line on his bottom gums – boy’s getting his first tooth! So precious! There’s not a lot of drool yet or anything so I’m sure we have a ways to go. But once it’s in – there will never be another picture of him without teeth, ever. Better enjoy that toothless grin now.

He wants to crawl so bad. He reaches for toys very well well, and does a floppy “fish out of water” thing but doesn’t go anywhere. In his sleep though, he manages to scoot all around the crib at night. We put him down in the bottom corner, and he ends up in the top, crying because he’s stuck. He’s turning very serious, but so excited to jump and jump and jump.

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C isn’t there yet with most of these physical milestones. She still hates tummy time for more than a few minutes and she doesn’t roll. She has rolled before onto her back, but never the other way around. She’s not physical like B is – she doesn’t want to jump or kick her legs like crazy. She really enjoys sitting. She is really good at picking things up, though. B’s hands still shake as he awkwardly grabs toys, but C uses individual fingers with careful precision. She’s great with smaller objects.

IMG_3819She is all smiles – such a very happy baby. Easy to make laugh, she’s constantly smiling and being so good-natured, which is funny, because it’s the exact opposite of how she was when she was a refluxy newborn. She’s social and good in new situations. And she’s FINALLY learned how to put the pacifier in her mouth by herself. Thank goodness.

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At 5 months we transitioned out of the swaddle and into the magic sleepsuit, and now we’re transitioning out of that into a normal fleece sack. It’s still a work in progress.

It’s just crazy how quickly that newborn period passes – and some terrible things go away, like the lack of sleep, but some amazing things go away too, like breastfeeding.

 

 

 

 

Props to the stay at home parent!

I get it! I get what it’s like to be a stay at home parent, and I get why it’s hard. I mean, I always understood that, as soon as the babies were home – but I didn’t put two and two together – raising babies was hard.

I was so BUSY with newborn twins, what with around the clock feedings and naps, and then with sleep struggles and then finally getting to the stage where they can play, that at the time I thought, I’m totally good at home, by myself, day in and day out. I’m sure I have many a blog post on it, as I was a happy little clam. I’m still happy, but also going INSANE. But not with the babies – I’m not tired of their company at all actually. But being a stay at home mom is so LONELY if you let it be. I imagine that if you are a permanent stay at home parent, your secret to happiness is doing something with your days besides stay at home with babies, whether that be play groups or time to yourself. But you can’t just sit in your house every single day. And I’m not home permanently – I’ll be back to work full time in August, so for now, I don’t want to let these months slip by me without enjoying them to their fullest.

So that’s why, what started out as the occasional trip to Target and then Costco turned into an “OMG I must get out of this house on a daily basis”. It happened overnight, really. One day I was fine at home, and the next – I couldn’t imagine NOT leaving the house. We still run errands.

IMG_3605 Alert as always at Costco.

But this week we’ve started something new – story times, sing a longs, and playgroups.

Today we went to our first sing a long “rhyme time” at the library for kids 0-24 months. There were at least 30 people there, mostly with toddlers. There were some babies though, even one as young as about 6 weeks. My babies were a little shell-shocked, with C being curious in a new environment but not exactly smiling, and B having MULTIPLE meltdowns when the room started singing and clapping. He was that kid in the back corner where everyone turns around to see who’s making the fuss. And then, I had them both sitting on the ground, but C started to fall so I turned away from B for a second to help her back to a sitting position, and while I was doing that, B fell, like flat on his face in front of the woman next to me. And then he really cried. He wasn’t hurt or anything even close, but he wasn’t liking the position he fell into. I don’t blame him. That’s my life with twins. It’s so hard to tend to both of them at the same time! I offered up a “Sorry, Bud” and a “You’re okay!” with the hope that he’d calm down and he did, but he still didn’t smile.

IMG_3781This was before the major meltdown but you can tell, he’s begging for me to save him.

It’s obviously good for them to go out and see the world, and C even seems to like it, so of course I’ll continue. But I wonder if this type of behavior B has towards crowds, lots of people, etc. isn’t something I can “fix” by more exposure – and may just be how he is. Maybe for now, maybe for a while. I’d hate to put him through a stressful situation time and time again in hoping the exposure changes him. That said – I have two babies, and one of them really likes to socialize. So for now, we’ll be going back to that sing a long.

Now tomorrow, we’re off to a town-sponsored play group for the first time. For B, it’s all about crowd control and noise. Once the volume gets to a certain point, he feels completely overwhelmed and shuts down. I understand. I’m not sure how many people will be there tomorrow so we may end up with a repeat situation.

In related news, when I am home with the babies I decided I want to change and extend their toys and stimulation. It’s the same old light up, loud obnoxious toys, where the babies don’t have to think much – most of these toys are trance-inducing. They are great with a fussy baby and certainly have their place, but when it comes to exploration, I want to spice up their lives (and mine). This website was recommended to me:

The Imagination Tree. It has a million awesome, fun, and cheap ideas for toys and activities at home. I mean, really genius ideas. Once I browsed through this, I got many ideas and am loving the thought of making my own toys. Sometimes you don’t really have to spend money on gadgets and things that light up – babies would prefer the wrapping anyway.

So I’m starting with sensory bottles and “treasure baskets”. When they’re all done I’ll put a picture up to give you a better idea, but I just love the concept of taking things around your house that are safe for babies and letting them do the exploring. I’m also excited to transform the second bedroom upstairs that’s full of crap into the official “play room” for the babies. Pinterest is addicting – so many great ideas! So there will be more on all that when I actually get around to doing something about it.

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DSC_0276I got this idea online – so simple, yet I never would have thought of it. The trays on my high chairs come off easily and have those lips on the end to keep liquid in. I simply poured some warm water in and enticed the babies to splash it a bit. They didn’t understand what the heck I was doing, so I added one drop of food coloring. Just one. Granted, they should have worn bibs but honestly, only the ends of their sleeves got wet and no stains whatsoever. Only B even wanted to touch the water, C just looked at me like I was insane. Which I may be, but it’s fun to let babies explore. And babies love water, so it seemed like a good place to start.

I think being a stay at home parent means combating loneliness, yes, but also being creative. Same toys, same house, no company…it just won’t work for me at least. So far, getting out of the house once a day and thinking up some fun activities that let the babies explore is helping. You know what else would help? Warm temperatures over freezing, maybe some grass.

Here’s how the last week went down:

IMG_3597 There was more tub fun (one day I might actually put this in water),

IMG_3645I’ve had this mirror forever, not hanging anywhere. Perfect tummy time opportunity.

IMG_3664My babies love the dogs, and one of my dogs loves the babies.

IMG_3737They really like to be without clothes, and I can’t pass up the opportunity to take a picture when they are dressed (or not) like twins…

IMG_3767A big day! They sat up like big babies in the stroller when we went for a quick, cold, windy walk.

And that was our week!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Coconut oil is my jam.

Adding fresh to the list of “hippy” mom things I’ve decided to undertake, I now…

Make my own baby wipes.

But before I get into that – let’s just talk about coconut oil for a minute. Who knew such a product would have 5,000 different uses? It’s like a miracle oil.

The forums are all abuzz about coconut oil so I decided to give it a try. We already had it in the house as my husband likes to cook with many different healthy oils. It comes as a solid lump, so I plunked the whole jar in a warm pot of water and waited for it to liquify. After a few minutes, I poured the oil into a small tupperware container that would make it easier to access when it hardened up again.

Then I got to work using it on my cloth diapers. Now, cloth diapers can’t tolerate your typical diaper rash creams. That was unfortunate, since I have 3 bottles of Desitin in my house. But they won’t come clean off a cloth diaper and would eventually create a barrier resulting in leaks. And the only way to solve that one is with dish soap and a toothbrush. No thanks. In an emergency, crazy-bad diaper rash situation (like the one I had last week), I still resort to Desitin since I’m new at this whole “natural” products game. My options were to throw down a liner on top of the diaper (fleece liners – I do that for every diaper anyway) and then wash the liner in normal laundry, throw out the liner, or use a disposable diaper.

Well part of the cause of B’s nasty rash was from sitting in acidic poop all night in a disposable diaper, trapping moisture like woah. So I wanted to use the hemp overnites for a while until it all cleared up. But after a few days of lots of air and Desitin, it wasn’t clearing up too much and I thought – let’s go back to coconut oil. I had been using it as a preventative measure and sort of as a natural replacement for Vaseline (again, can’t touch cloth diapers). Now, a week later, the rash is basically gone, and I’m applying coconut oil for both babies at almost every diaper change. This is GOOD stuff.

I’m also using it for dry skin on C’s legs and hands, chapped lips  - and cooking.

I’m still getting into the craze, but basically, anywhere you would use 1) oil, 2) vaseline, or 3) moisturizer, you can substitute it with coconut oil. For kids or adults. It’s thin and easily spreadable, and no grease stains whatsoever. I use the back of my nail to scrape a little out of the tupperware, and then put the chunk on a q-tip and apply. You know what’s in it, so no guessing there. It’s good for babies and their skin. One jar lasts a long time. I’m impressed!

Back to the wipes – the wipes we were using ran out. I busted out some old wipes we had on hand, and B got a rash from it. Clearly he has sensitive skin. Most wipes have a lot of chemicals in it, which, I’m not concerned about in terms of the long-term health of my kids, but I do think it could have an adverse effect on skin -too drying, allergic reactions, whatever. Plus, it’s a hassle to constantly have to buy more wipes.

I decided to make my own. These are disposable, not reusable. Good for some people, but I just can’t do it. Nasty. I’m using cheap paper towels (from Costco – working fine!); Bounty is generally recommended on the interwebs. I’m also using select-a-size – the perfect wipe size.

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These are my ingredients – tea tree oil was my big expense off Amazon, then the baby shampoo I already had and was using, the coconut oil I was already using (we still had a little left in the jar), paper towels and a container from the dollar store. Voila!

The recipe I’m using comes from Quad Mom Amber, so you can check her out there. I didn’t use any lavender or other oils as I didn’t have them  and don’t mind the smell of the tea tree oil, and instead of baby oil (it irritates the crap out of B’s skin – no surprise there) I’m using coconut oil. Otherwise I followed her recipe exactly. It literally took me less than 5 minutes to make start to finish.

To get the tube out of our paper towels, I poured the liquid on the bottom of the container first, then put the roll in, let it soak for a few minutes and it came right out. However, my over-sized roll from Costco was wider than I think is typical, so instead of the 5-10 minutes it would take for the liquid to completely absorb into the roll, it took more like 3-4 hours. I also had to add another 1/4 cup of water. I had a feeling the roll would dry out and would be a giant fail. Well, at the end of the week, we’ve still got some roll to spare, it’s not even close to dry – in fact the more wipes we use, the wetter they are. They smell clean, no mold or grossness (that’s the tea tree oil), no drippy mess, easy to come apart from the middle, like cleaning wipes – I love it! And CHEAP! That’s the biggest pro as far as I’m concerned.  And now I have wipes.

With B’s sensitive skin, I’m always trying to find products that don’t bother him. So far, I’m finding that scents and chemicals do irritate his skin, and I’ve absolutely NO problems with coconut oil for any use, and now, baby wipes too.

So hooray for simple at-home methods that feed into my laziness and are good for the skin!

Maybe I should make my own cleaning wipes too as we go through a million a week….is that crossing the line?