Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Foreseasons Twins: 1st Birthday Party

Hot Dog!  I've been meaning to write the boys' birthday party post all month.  We had a Mickey Mouse Clubhouse themed party since that is their favorite show that catches their attention.  We didn't go too overboard on the theme or the party since it seems the birthday kid is always overwhelmed at their first party so I figured I might as well wait and do that someday when they can really enjoy it.  They turned one Memorial Day weekend so we kept it small and invited just immediate family, while mentioning to our Nanny, Ammy and a few friends that they could stop by for the BBQ if they were free.  The weather that day was PERFECT, so we were able to have an outdoor party which is what we wanted.

The boys were pretty predictable, Max relished in the party scene and Jake was a bit more hesitant and shy.  I made them each large cupcakes that we borrowed from cousin Lily (took Mommy 3 tries to make the cakes and Jake's is held together by frosting).  And I bought their 'One' shirts with the Mickey Mouse ears off Etsy.  

For food we made tiny fruit pizzas on Nilla Wafers, Fiesta Ranch Dip with Fritos, Potato Salad, Baked Beans, Hot Dogs, Brats and Cupcakes (store bought).  I bought little Mickey Mouse ears with the number 1 and their initials on them for the cupcakes off of Etsy and some decorations from Target.

I framed a bunch of pictures of them and then I ended up making my version of the chalk board-like 'About Me' birthday signs for each boy rather than paying $25 for the template on Etsy.

Instead of singing Happy Birthday we played the Hot Dog song and Mickey Mouse Clubhouse theme song as the boys had their cakes in front of them.  Leading up to the party I thought for sure I would cry during the cake as I would practically start crying thinking about it, but surprisingly I didn't.  The day was just so busy that I guess I didn't really have time to get emotional.  I also think that since we didn't sing the Happy Birthday song (which is usually what can get me choked up), that helped to keep the tears at bay.  

Max dug right into the cake like we knew he would, sticking his whole arm in it and smiling and yucking it up for the camera.  Afterwards, he went straight up with Daddy for a bath.

Jake didn't care for all that attention and was fussing so I ended up taking him out of his high chair.   Once he was sitting with me he tried digging into the cake.

They got a ton of new toys (water table, picnic table, lawn mower, b-ball hoop, soccer net, kiddie pool), so I'd say we are set for a few years in the yard toy department.  It was a great afternoon spent playing with their cousins as well.  I love the pics of all of them at the picnic table.

We've Got Ears, Say Cheers!!  We love you Jake and Max!!

Wednesday, June 3, 2015

Foreseasons Twins - 12 Months!!

Well, one year.  We did it.  We made it.  I think we both agree it was the hardest year of our lives and the best year of our lives.  

The boys had their birthday party on a perfect, sunny day with family (separate blog post to come) and then we spent the next day, their actual birthday just relaxing at home.  

The pics below were actually taken the day after their first birthday, wearing the bow-ties that they wore for their baptism.  I had a vision of what I wanted these pics to be, but that hardly happened as they wouldn't sit still for anything.  I also wanted to take a picture of them holding the pic of the embryos that we hoped and prayed would become our little babies someday (and did), but that didn't work either, so it just quietly sits in the background of some pics.  Jake looks pretty fresh with his new haircut, but overall they look like a couple of dorky goobers in those bow-ties.  lol.  

Jake Highlights:
Weight 20 lbs 12.5 oz (40%)
Height 31 inches (85%)

Big Jake started walking this past month, just a few days after turning 11 months (on 04/30).  It was on a weeknight when we were all hanging out in the living room and he took a few stumbly steps.   After that he has taken off, always putting his arms out in front of him when he walks, it's so darn cute.  Since they were both learning to walk this past month, our nights usually consisted of the two of them walking back and forth between us, stumbling, falling or successfully making it.  One night, each time that Max would stumble and fall, Jake thought it was the funniest thing ever and would laugh and laugh this big belly laugh.  It was contagious.  

Jake still has the six teeth, 4 on top and 2 on bottom.  He is using words like "Da", "Da Da Da" and "Mah Mah".  He will talk and shout a lot always looking around to see if people are understanding him.  He says "ma ma" sounds, but only when he is whining and wants mommy to do something for him or pick him up.  Otherwise, if we try to prod him to repeat "ma ma", he'll usually say "da da".  Both boys do that!

His fave foods are cheerios, blueberries, gerber puffs & crunchies, yogurt and treats.  He is a methodical eater and will eat all of his small favorite foods before he'll even touch the other food on his tray.  (His Dad also used to eat like this somewhat in that he always ate one food group at a time, never together).   He also loves watching his sippy cup get filled with water and will giggle every time in excitement.  The kid would eat gerber puffs and cheerios all day if we let him.

Jake can play pretty independently and is working on learning to play with his brother.  We have been experiencing some sharing problems over here which is probably just the start of it.  He is still sleeping very good, all through the night but is usually an early riser.  We get tears at bedtime and nap time but he can usually quiet himself down pretty quickly once he realizes he's tired and that sleep is happening.  He is still very much a mama's boy and leaving for work in the mornings is getting louder with frantic crying as I try to leave, but he calms down quickly after.

Other cute things worth mentioning:  We were honored to become cousin Vance's Godparents this month and during his baptism, Jake sat with my parents and didn't make a peep, reading the bible and just sitting silent & still the whole time.  Future alter boy, perhaps?  He also loves his cousin Liam and practically tried to jump on his back that night at Vance's celebration excited to play with him.  

He's definitely a gentle soul as any kind of noise or movement that startles him will get him upset. They both will do this actually, but especially when they are getting into mischief and it goes badly (like something drops or falls), this will scare the crap out of them and have them both screaming in tears.  My warning to them when this is happening lately is: "this is going to end badly for one or both of you and then instead of having fun exploring we are going to be crying".

The wheels are always turning with Jake, observing and learning, so he'll always have this intent stare when he is checking you out.  I always catch him doing this when I'm putting on my makeup on workdays at the kitchen table.  He's probably wondering what the heck I'm doing and where I think I'm going!  Other cute habits are that he criss-crosses his feet a lot when he sits, rubs his hands on his thighs a lot when he sits and he is definitely our giggle bunny.  Loves to laugh.  He is a good snuggler and will put his head on your shoulder then tuck his arms under his chest and puff his butt up.  He'll also do this on the floor when he just needs a quick break, or sometimes he'll just take a quick break from playing to come up for a quick hug or snuggle then get right back to it.   

Max Highlights:

Weight 20 lbs 12.5 oz (40%)
Height 29 inches (15%)

Max is walking like a champ.  It is the funniest thing to watch him wander around the house.  One day he just came walking out of the bathroom so nonchalantly like he'd just used the toilet or something and it just cracked me up.  Another day we were in the bedroom getting ready and Chris opened the door and there Max was with the push walker and he just pounced and came cruising in the bedroom with the walker practically on two wheels.  His legs are a bit "bowed" which we were worried about but the Dr. said it didn't worry her yet and to give it some time.  Apparently they don't do Forrest Gump like braces these days which I was happy to hear.

Max is a busy-body.  Enough said.  Ammy said some days they will be sitting in the living room, the 3 of them and Max will get up and wander away, she'll hear some crashing and noises and talking and then he'll just wander back and sit down back in his spot.  If there is a small space he can crawl into, something small on the ground he can put in his mouth, anything, he'll find it.  I've caught him with toilet paper, rocks and a battery (I know, bad) in his mouth.  

The dude can eat and there is no dainty pincer grasp with him either.  No, he'd prefer to use his entire fist as a shovel.  Food disappears on his tray faster than we can put it there.  Although this makes him a messy eater as his aim is 50/50 and some food hits his mouth and the other half is usually under his butt in the high chair.  He still has his favorite foods like his brother, blueberries, cheerios, gerber puffs, etc.  But he'll really eat anything we put in front of him.  He has less of a sweet tooth than Jake and is more our savory eater we think.  

Max has 7 teeth total.  This month he got another 2 teeth on the bottom and 1 on the top.  Explains all of his waking in the middle of the night.  You read it right that he is the same weight as his brother too.  All of that eating has given Max a potbelly (he is built like his Mother) and that must have helped on the scale this month.  They even weighed Jake again to be sure his weight was right as couldn't believe it was the same, their body mass just looks so different.  Especially since Max is our little peanut as is 2 inches shorter than Jake.  The height difference doesn't matter to Max since he is a scrappy guy and can hold his own.

Max just started pointing this month, no idea really what he is pointing at, but he has learned it!  He has pretty much has the same vocabulary as Jake:  "Da" is his most used word, and "da da da" is used when he is exploring and investigating something, learning something new, pointing at something, etc.  Not really saying much for "Ma Ma" sounds yet.

They are still doing pretty good playing together and going everywhere together.  Although the fighting over the toys is in full swing.  Even toys where we have multiples.  Of course, once we locate the second toy, then the other one has no interest in it!  In the pics below they are playing with their new legos from Great Aunt Marsha and Tom and their new toy from Ammy.  Still loving their laundry basket "boat" rides too.  
In the next set of pics they were playing outside on the deck one day, they sure love being outside and they giggle in excitement when we walk down the stairs and they realize this is where we are headed.  They received tons of outdoor play items for their birthday so we will be busy outside this summer.

One day we went rummaging with Grandma and Grandpa in Cedarburg and the got to play with all their new toys in their backyard.

If I'm trying to brush my teeth or get dressed in the morning they are at my door like puppies, running in the second I open it.  It's amazing how quickly they get into things too.  In the one pic below they had been rummaging around in my bathroom cupboard while I brushed my teeth and upon investigating I saw they had knocked over all of the Q-tips inside it and then there they sat with tampons in each of their mouths.  Lovely!
Here we are at our first walk at the lakefront this year.  Then playing the piano at Grandma and Grandpa F's house.  Also cheap entertainment playing in our homemade fort at home.  Then food strolling at the Greenfield Farmer's Market and stopping to eat in the grass field in the center of it.  
They are always wrestling and climbing on each other.  Sometimes it's par for the course it doesn't bother the one being piled on and sometimes it brings them to tears.  It really just depends on their mood.  In the bottom pic, they are eating their gerber puff snacks off the floor.  Like puppies, they can hear the sound of the plastic can and the snacks inside and when I drop some on the floor, they run towards it, grabbing it by the fistfuls and shoving it in their mouths.  The other bottom pic shows Jake in the bath and Max practically jumping in.

They LOVE the bathroom and bath time and the other one tries their hardest to patiently wait their turn outside the tub, always bouncing or trying to grab at things in excitement.  This set of pictures cracks me up the most this month, especially the bath pic.  Jake must have been thinking, can't a guy take a bath in peace, Max?!  Hard to get some alone time when you are a twin I guess.
Other things we did this month:  Lakefront exercise and smoothies at Collectivo with Grandma and Grandpa F.  Visiting Grandma and Grandpa D. in Janesville and playing at Camden Park.  I love that picture of Maximilian Gordon sitting with his Grandpa Gordon.  And then walking a 5K in Oak Creek with Mommy while Daddy ran it.  

We took our maiden voyage in our wagon that we got for Christmas with cousins Liam and Lily.  Love how adoring they are looking at Liam here.  He also babysat with Auntie Anna one night and the boys were so mesmerized by him, watching his every move.  

We drove to a suburb of Chicago one day to visit our friends the triplets.  Did great on the car ride, sleeping both ways and had fun walking around with them with their walkers and playing in their big box fort.  

We celebrated Mother's Day by making a brunch at home and unfortunately spent it inside due to weather.  However, they woke real early that morning and Mommy took them straight to the recliner where they both fell back asleep for another hour.  It was a great Mommy moment for me to get to rock them like that again together just like when they were babies, especially on Mother's Day.

Finally, we celebrated Daddy's birthday with a pancake breakfast (see the little photo bomber in the pancake picture.....that would be Max who also killed those pancakes that day, even after already having a breakfast of his own earlier) and then we spent the day at the lakefront.  Later that night Mommy and Daddy got to eat at one of their favorite restaurants, Pastiche while we had Ammy come babysit.  Much needed!

Since I like to keep track of things to look back on someday, I wanted to make note of the boys schedule up until this point.  

They are little donut makers and wake up at the crack of dawn.  We call this "time to make the donuts".  We do not get them out of their cribs  until 6:00 a.m., so sometimes they spent the time before just talking and playing in their cribs, sometimes whining. They eat breakfast between 6:00-6:30.  Then a 4 oz bottle at 8:00.  Nap by 9:00 until usually 10:30.  Then a 6 oz bottle at 11:00 with some puffs for a snack.  Lunch around 1:00.  Followed by an afternoon nap sometime between 1:00 and 3:00 for maybe another 1.5 hour.  The afternoon nap is still is not on a schedule.  Then another 6 oz bottle when they wake from the afternoon nap.  Dinner at 5:30-6:00 and then a 7 oz bottle at 7:00.  Bedtime is 7:30.

At the 12 month birthday appointment the boys received their latest shots and we received the green light to replace the bottles of formula with sippy cups of whole milk.  So we are chipping away at this new change and the last week has been a bit tough on the boys with both the after effects of the shots, getting used to the milk and now I think we are getting more teeth.  So overall still working on a new "schedule" and adjusting to change.  

My biggest lessons learned in their first year:  Learn to let things be unpredictable because just when you think you are getting something down, they will throw you for a loop and things change!!!  Another is:  It really did get easier after those newborn months, just like everyone said it would. 

 Happy one year to my baby boys.  Still can't believe that you're ours and that we get to keep you. I get excited to see your faces every morning even when you wake up early to make the donuts.   I am sure it is a feeling that will never grow old.  

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Foreseasons Boys: Eleven Months!!

Our sweet boys have hit eleven months.  One more month until their first birthday.  Time has really flown!!  We took their pictures after their bath on their 11 month birthday this past Friday night (I love pictures in jammies).  We all are always in a good mood on Friday nights!

Hard to get pictures with the stickers so Dad had no improvise.  Also, nice photo bomb by Jake.


Walking: Jake started out stronger with the push walker this month.  He pushes that thing everywhere from sun up to sun down all over the house.  He had it to himself at first as Max would just follow on all fours, but soon had to share.  He'll do some standing on his own by letting go of furniture, but no full on steps yet this month (but we've seen steps by the time I'm typing this post - more to come next month)! 

Talking:  Lots of shouting this month by Jake.  Not mad shouting, just shouting like he's trying to say something.  Especially when Max has something he wants, like the push walker.  I think he thinks it's his since he got used to using it first alone.  He'll make lots of shouting noises to me like he's trying to tell on Max.  They both say "da" a lot and repeat it when they are focused on something "da" "da" "da".  Not sure there.  Sometimes Jake will say "ma" "ma" sounds but I don't think it's mommy yet.  We try to practice with both Dada and Mama though.  When Jake gets excited he throws his head back into the air with closed eyes and big grin showing all 6 of his sponge-bob teeth.

Sleeping:  Putting Jake to bed is a cakewalk.  He works hard during the day and is ready for bed at night.  He loves laying his head on his blanket and if we hear him crying out during the night it is usually because he's trying to find that blanket again for his head.  He had some early morning wake-ups this month and it may have been teeth, not sure.  Sleep was a little tough from mid last month to mid this month (see Max below), but I'd say things are getting better.  We've also started letting them cry or play in their cribs in the morning if they wake up too early (like 5:30).  We make them wait it out until 6:00.  Which is still early!  They day starts around here pretty routinely at 6 a.m.!  

Playing:  Jake is pretty good at playing independently and can just sit in the corner looking at and banging all his books.  When he's tired he'll sometimes just lay his head on the carpet and put his arms under his belly or come over for a quick hug, lay his head on your shoulder and then he's off again.  He doesn't get into as much mischief as his brother, he'll still watch from the sidelines and then get involved if it doesn't look too dangerous.  If Jake gets hurt, it's usually at Max's doing, for example, like shutting his hand in the door which has happened a few times....    


Talking:  Max also makes the "da" "da" "da" sound like Jake when he is playing or really focused on something.  He also squeals when he is really excited, like when he's playing with a cell phone or when we come in the morning to get him out of his crib.  Still also does his woodchuck laugh when he's excited too, especially for food and his sippy cup.  Sometimes he'll scream when he's super excited and just wants to be loud.  When he's winding down, finally letting himself relax into sleep, he'll ramble and make lots of noises too.  

Walking:  Max was up on the push walker just a bit after Jake.  He had some spaghetti legs for awhile so it took him longer to get up and then to stay up, but he "did the work" and became a pro in no time.  Zipping around the house, stealing the walker from Jake or running alongside him whenever he could.  And lo and behold, all that persistence paid off because Max took his first steps this month!!  "Go Max Go" is our new catchphrase.  I am so excited for him, especially because he did something first before Jake this time.  He deserves the limelight!  He took his first multiple steps in a row on April 20th, so just a few days prior to turning 11 months.  Days before he would let go of furniture and just be standing on his own and then plop on his butt.  Then one day we came home from work and Ammy said he had taken a couple steps alone.  Then after dinner all of a sudden he was just walking unprodded just a few steps.  Well, Mommy and Daddy got excited and cheered and then I think he scared himself and he tumbled into the busy-box and got a bloody lip.  So it ended in some major tears on his part but mommy and daddy were so proud nonetheless. We even let him play in the bathroom afterwards and bang on the tub, cupboards and take a bath (his favorite room in the house) just to cheer him up and reward him.  He's taken several more steps since then and I think we will have a full on walker soon.  Go Max Go!

Sleeping:  Max was a toughie this past month on sleep and we had a couple weeks with wake-ups during the night.  We started to let him cry it out, but the boy is persistent and this would last for over an hour.  I would usually cave and go in and get him and end up sleeping with him on the couch.  Which is what he wanted.  I learned I was being a sucker and we pushed through the crying and it gradually got better.  We still had wakeups this past week but I'll blame it on a tumble he had (see walking above).  Or teeth.  I always give them the benefit of the doubt and say it's teeth.  And it's true, Max did have that 2nd front tooth come through this month.  I think part of the problem with the nighttime wakings could be we never really put them down "awake".  I know it is something you need to teach babies early on, but they are only babies for so long and it was just much easier to rock them and put them down asleep.  So it took us 10 months to finally try this method, especially for naps.  The crying it out is tough and Max definitely gives us a run for our money.  We still don't have it mastered.

Playing & Other Funnies:  Max still is our busy body and is into everything, everywhere anytime of day (His Godfather, Erik calls him "party boy").  If I leave something out or something open, he is all over it.  He is still the one that gets yelled at the most using his first and last name and is constantly being consoled due to injuries.  He gagged the other day and spit up on the carpet and what came up you ask?....Well, paper he had eaten.  Just like a puppy would.  lol.  Max wants to be constantly entertained so will follow you from room to room if you are trying to do something.  Ammy also says that some days he'll want to play with Jake when Jake just isn't in the mood to be pounced on or get into mischief with him and that this will make Max very upset.  The guy is one of a kind, truly.  

In the following collages you'll notice a theme:  the push walker.  You've probably noticed by now it is the most coveted toy around our house.  They cruise all over the place with it and get up to pretty fast speeds.  It was borrowed to us by my cousin Katie and it sure has gotten a ton of mileage.  Probably the one toy we could have used 2 of.

Emptying things is another favorite pastime.  Taking books off their bookshelf, emptying toys out of their basket, emptying the diapers out of the bin if we've left it open, emptying clothes out of their drawers, laundry basket, whatever they can get their hands on.  Basically if something is put away in its spot, their laser beam vision will zoom in on it and it must be taken out, dumped out, etc.  Sometimes it's a good exercise to just keep them busy by continuously putting toys into something so that they can dump it out.

Other favorites:  The bathroom.  They are fixated on it.  If the door opens, they are running towards it and up on their feet banging on the tub.  Or the toilet.  Or the cabinets.  Or unrolling the toilet paper.  I watched Max one night circling the room in a frenzy from one thing to the next like he was thinking, "I. must. touch. everything before she scoots me out of here".  

Same thing goes for our bedroom.  They run around there in the morning opening all the drawers on our nightstand and just have their mitts on everything!!

Eating:  We are still having four bottles a day at 8, 11, 3 and bedtime.  They are becoming less interested in the bottles during the day.  Or actually I should say that they frantically cry for them when they are being made, but they drink a few ounces and that's it.  I spend the rest of the time chasing them around with it.  So, starting this month we'll begin dropping the ounces during the day which should start to prepare us for when the switch to cow's milk is made after their first birthday.  We are still confused on how all of that will work, but figure we'll learn more at their next Dr. appointment.  

They LOVE getting into their highchairs to eat, especially in the morning when they know the cheerios are coming.  First foods we tried this month were: peanut butter, strawberries, kiwi, cantaloupe, raspberries, broccoli, tofu stir fry, jello, corn cakes, waffles, tater tots, mashed potatoes, bread pudding (one sweet with orange & vanilla and one savory with sausage, tomatoes and basil) and a quinoa bake with veggies.  I seriously can't keep the food coming fast enough sometimes and will be rushing around trying to find something to cut up next for them.  Favorites are cheerios, blueberries, any fruit really and any snack like crackers, gerber puffs, goldfish.  Jake eats all the snacks first before anything else, he is our snack guy.  Max will eat everything we put in front of him.  

They still eat with their hands.  Fists really.  I tried plates one day but everything ended up flipped over.  Why does it have to be so messy?!  I need to work out of the house for that reason alone.  The repetitive routine of cleaning their trays, their bibs, their faces, their highchairs, the table, the floor (in that order) 3-4 times a day 7 days a week would put me in the looney bin.  
I'm especially enjoying our Tuesdays and Fridays together.  The extra time with them since going part-time at work has been refreshing.  And still being able to work feels good too.  This past Monday you couldn't have paid me to stay home with them (their behavior and night wakings pretty much kicked our ass last weekend).  So, I'm thankful for that balance.

We've done some fun things this past month.  My favorite is getting back to stroller walks again and we all love our new city-mini stroller.   They sat in the grass for the first time one day and we went through the mail and waited for Daddy to come home from work.  One day we strolled through the village of Tosa with cousin Vance & Daytona and stopped for lunch outside (Noodles for Mommy and Auntie and bottles all around for the boys), then ice cream in the grass outside at Yo-Mama.  We took our first trip to Target just last week.  Other mommies probably find that insane we haven't done that until now?!  On weekends we've gone to the Lakefront to exercise and then visited Whole Foods and Milwaukee Public Market.  Forget shopping at the mall, mommy and daddy enjoy food strolling instead!  We went to Chicago for brunch with Great Grandma and then walking through Lincoln Park Zoo with Grandma, Grandpa and Uncle Ryan while he was in town for work.  Also got to Cedarburg to visit Grandma and Grandpa, then walked to the park to go on the swings with Daddy and Grandpa.  

We celebrated our first Easter with brunch at Boerner Botanical Gardens with both Grandparents and Erik, Tara and cousin Vance.  The boys were well behaved.  At one point an older woman came over and asked if they were up for adoption because they were so cute sitting in their highchairs at the table like big boys.  Max ate like it was going out of style, including trying an olive, caper and lox.   All three boys got to sit with the Easter bunny and none of them cried.  

It was this time last year that I was pretty pregnant with the two of them and it was a special day to take pictures outside so we tried to recreate the memory this year with the boys.  

I'll end with some family pics.  We've got Baby Chef below helping Daddy in the kitchen one Sunday.  Still the best Halloween costume ever and I keep it hanging in the kitchen with our aprons.  Both boys are my little cuddle-bugs and are going to stay my babies forever!

And they still love their wrestle time with Daddy.  Jake's wrestling move is called the "Jake Pancake".  This Mommy loves all her boys!

Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Foreseasons Twins: 10 Months

The boys hit 10 months almost a week ago.  We all spent it at home with a stomach bug.  Having two sick babies and feeling sick yourself was hellish.  I think I'd compare the night we had right up there with those tough newborn days that I would never want to repeat.  Nobody was feeling very photogenic so I didn't get my usual 10 month pictures.  Good news is that this time it only lasted about two days and we are all feeling back to normal.   

So instead I'll start with my two favorite pictures of them this month:

The horsing around and wrestling stage has begun.  

They do love to entertain each other in their highchairs.  

Hopefully the video below is viewable.  Big belly laughs after dinner one night.  It's usually Max who will keep Jake entertained.


EATING:  Like the pic and video above, I won't fool you by pretending mealtime is always a heart melting moment.  It is usually a stressful one actually; trying to keep food in front of them and navigate the meltdowns, watching for signs of just gagging and not choking, trying to keep the food on the tray and not all over their clothes, their hair, the floor, etc.  I love this phase more-so than bottles, but gosh is it messy and sticky!

We like to bang on the highchair, drop the food on the floor, drop our sippy cup on the floor, complain about the food in front of us, complain about being spoon-fed, just plain decide to have a full-on breakdown, try to grab the spoon to feed ourselves, and overall just create a big mess for mommy.  When I'm on my hands and knees wiping up the floor after each meal I tell them that this is why it is rude to purposely drop things on the floor forcing Mommy to clean like this.

During breakfast Chris and I are usually trying to pack our lunches and get ourselves ready for the day and at dinner we are trying to get our meal on the table and be able to eat it in time before the boys get upset and want to get out of their highchairs.  Some days I'm not sure we taste our food, we eat so fast.

Their schedule right now:  The boys eat breakfast around 6:00 every morning.  We've been trying things like blueberry pancakes, toasted bagels with yogurt spread on top, scrambled eggs, cheerios and the old standby rice ceral or oatmeal with yogurt mixed in.  A 6 oz bottle follows around 7:45, then a 7 oz bottle at 11:00.  Some snacks around 1:00ish (although I know its not the best for them, they love all the gerber snacks - puffs, wagon wheels, veggie stix, etc. and any veggie/fruit pouches).  Then a 7 oz bottle around 3:00.  Dinner is usually around 5:30-6:00 when we get home from work.  And then a final 8 oz bottle before bed around 7:00-7:30.  I try to make their food ahead of time to make it easy to serve during the week.  They like variations of quesadillas with cheese, refried beans, sweet potato and smashed black beans.   Corkscrew pasta with parmesan cheese and Mac & cheese.  Roasted sweet potato and peas with parmesan cheese.  Rice pudding, applesauce, deli meat, string cheese, strawberries, blueberries, grapes.  In addition, they take lots of little bites of whatever we are eating.  They are ALWAYS interested in what we are eating and begging like little puppies.  They also LOVE their sippy cups.  They get big smiles and giggle whenever they see we are filling it.  Max will really throw his head back to chug from it.

Max is still the better eater of the two and is becoming our little foodie.  He really will try anything and always seems hungry, sometimes I can't keep up with putting food on his tray.  Jake eats a bit like Chris did when he was younger - one food item at a time.  He'll start with the small items like cheerios and his bagel will sit there untouched and I'll think that he's not going to eat it, but he'll eventually make his way over to the other foods.   They are each holding their own bottles (if not too tired) and we have officially retired the snoogle pillow that I used my entire pregnancy and that they ate in for months.  I admit I got teary-eyed putting it away, but I do love having it out of my living room.

Jake Milestones:  Jake is talking a lot more this month.  Talking just like Max too, it may be their own twin-like trait.  He is starting to walk with the push-walker., he's got such strong legs and can do laps around the circle in the house, but needs steering assistance.  Still climbing up and scaling everything.  His new thing is turning in circles while sitting.  And still always giving everything the old bang test with his left arm.  One day when Chris was watching him while I had taken Max out with me, Jake climbed the stairs.  Supervised of course.  He made it all the way to the top (7 stairs total) with a rest in between.  Such a big boy!  Jake definitely loves calming things like his wubb-a-nubb pacifier, car rides and stroller rides (he always falls asleep), bath-time and bedtime.  He usually goes down like a charm and this past month had pretty good sleeping habits, usually for 10-11 hours (an update that might be different next month.....as people seem to be waking a lot lately....).  Jake is definitely the more sensitive of the two and overall just has a real even-keeled personality,

Max Milestones:  Max is always on the move.  And when he's crawling towards something that excites him, he puts his head down to really haul ass.  It's pretty funny.  He'll walk with the push-walker for a bit, but his legs are still a bit wobbly.  But that doesn't stop him from trying.  Otherwise he'll drop to his knees and push the walker.  If brother is walking with it, he's crawling alongside him trying to get up there too.  He does great at self-feeding and has been using his left hand for a lot.  He seems like a bottomless pit sometimes with the solids, gobbling anything up in front of him.  He was the first one to learn to hold his bottle on his own.  Max is always the last to bed and is the first one up.  As an example, one night Jake had been sleeping for almost an hour and Max was still up.  Not only was he still up, he was up playing.  I watched him wander around the living room, honking the horn on the jumper car, pressing buttons on the busy-box and then digging in the toy box  like a bear in a picnic basket.  The whole house was quiet and here he was still into mischief.  I was laughing so hard telling Chris about it later.  The kid is just so darn funny.   

Like last year we went to the parade downtown to celebrate St. Patricks Day.  I loved being able to take the boys this year and meet all the friends and cousins.   We were all so happy it turned out to be a nice day.  It was one of my favorite things we've done in awhile.  

We had a playdate with the triplets and the cousins.  Last time we saw the triplets was in July when Amy and I were both on maternity leave.  It was like a baby bomb went off in the house and it was fantastic.  I hope to get a lot of playdates in with them over the years and want them to be close friends.  They are only like 12 days apart!  It's great to have a friend navigating the mom of multiples world at the same time and I've certainly leaned on and learned a ton from her.

We enjoy wrestling and horsing around with Daddy, and snuggling with him too.  As most moms and wives do, I love to watch Chris with the boys.  After dinner our ritual is to play around on the floor the last hour or so before bedtime.  Sometimes I just snuggle in next to Chris laying on the floor and we just laugh watching the boys play until they come over and start to climb on us.  While sometimes evening is their witching hour, other times the last 30 mins that they are up is also their funniest hour like they get an extra burst of energy or something.    

PLAYING:  They travel usually as a pair, either getting into mischief together or at least one watches while the other gets into mischief (it's usually Jake watching Max).  One morning they were pretty naughty at breakfast, just lots of whining and crying so I declared breakfast over and let them run around and do anything as long as they were out of my hair for a minute.  Max was in their bedroom doing his usual entertainment of pushing the door back and forth.  Jake was just watching from the hallway.  I hear the sound of hands and feet crawling quickly and slapping across the floor and then a bunch of giggling as the door shuts, then their both behind the door laughing.  They thought they were pretty funny I guess and they were right as it was hard to stay irritated with them after that moment.

They are also fighting over toys.  Ammy one day had to separate them in their cribs as the fighting got to be too much.  One always wants the one toy the other has of course.  Jake had a pretty big scratch one day on his face from Max and then later that day Max had 4 teeth marks on his cheek.  The report from Ammy was there was only one culprit this day.....Jake who didn't know how to share.  

Favorite toys this month are their "busy box", aka the activity table.  And their star rings.  They will crawl all over the house with one in each hand banging on the ground, they love to wave them in their arms, one night Max even fell asleep with one in his hands.  We visited my parents and they had some rings as well in their toy box and we ended up taking a ring home with us.  I lifted Max out of his carseat and there it was, he was sitting on it the whole way home.

WORKING MOM:  After laboring over the decision for several months, as of April 1st, I will be going part-time at work, working 3 days a week.  I had the most perfect maternity leave from Memorial Day to Labor Day, the timing was better than anything I could have asked for.  The memories I have with the boys over that time still can bring tears to my eyes.  The countless stroller walks we took around the neighborhood while listening to music, walks at the lakefront, trips weekly to see the grandparents, playing with cousins Liam & Lily and just watching them grow day after day while we learned our routine.  When I went back to work full-time it was tough and I knew I'd miss those summer days, but I wanted to do it.  I took pride in saying that I was a full-time working mom of twins, I enjoyed dressing up, being back in my office, going to lunches with my husband and overall just the feeling of accomplishment at work.  Leaving everyday wasn't as tough as you hear people talk about.  I never felt like I couldn't get dressed, or couldn't leave them and I never left in tears.  I still don't.

My work days are busy, so busy in fact that if I'm being honest, often I would forget about them.  This would make me feel guilty.  Then they started getting sick this winter and being at work when I felt I should be with them made me feel guilty.  Taking off work to take them to the doctor made me feel guilty.  Hectic mornings and rushing to work and stuck in traffic and late would make me feel guilty.  Driving like a maniac to get home to see them and being stuck in traffic and late for the nanny would make me feel guilty.  With the commute, we are gone 10.5 hours of the day.  The long winter and sickness and the hours started to wear on our nanny and that made me feel guilty.  And then it started to wear on me.  I started to feel that I was missing time with them and if I could just have an extra day at home a week maybe things just wouldn't feel so rushed all the time.

I had Mommy guilt - I hated that a nanny was with the boys over 52 hours a week, I don't even work 50 hours a week and here she was day in and day out.  I wanted to give her a break, but I didn't want to hire anyone else....truth was that I wanted to be that person.  I had Wife guilt - home life felt rushed and stressful often.  I thought if I could be home more maybe that would provide some relief.  I knew I had a husband who would support my decision, but I also hated putting the extra working burden on him if I decided to cut hours.  I had Work guilt - I didn't want to let my co-workers down by stepping back and more importantly I didn't want to let the owners down.  All of this came to a head  around Christmas time (although if you ask Chris he'll say it was two weeks after going back to work..).  So for months I talked about it but was scared to pull the trigger and work up the courage to talk to my bosses.  I worried about them saying no, I worried about this being detrimental to my career, I worried about how much my lifestyle would have to change.  Cutting back hours meant less money and on my bucket list for the boys are family vacations on the beach in Charleston and Disney World and New York to visit their Aunt & Uncle, etc.  And would cutting hours mean I had to start shopping only at garage sales?!  haha.

Weighing all my "guilts" above, in the end it is the boys who I chose, of course, and I had a tearful conversation with my boss.  It went better than I could have imagined and for that I am very grateful and thankful.  No timeline on how long this will last and we'll see how it goes.  For now, I'm really excited as it seems I have the best of both worlds.  I'm hoping that life starts to feel like it's "slowing down" now that I can be at home more and I can be a more present Mommy to the boys.  As well as do more "wife-like" things like have dinner ready for my husband when he gets home, all dressed in pearls and an apron.  Cuz that stuff will happen now, right?!

Finally, I'll end this month's post with a little game.  Can you spot the photo bomb below, aka Mr. Mischief?  Cracks us up.  Cheers to 10 months and new changes!!

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Foreseasons Twins - 9 Months

Here I am back again to write another update, this time for 9 months already.  Time sure flies.  We are noticing this month that they are both starting to resemble little boys, not babies anymore.

We tried to take their 9 month photo while eating cheerios for the first time last weekend.  And I actually did have them dressed alike here because I rarely do, but it was short-lived as Max then got water all over his shirt.  

During dinner on their actual 9 month birthday

Jake milestones:  

  • His top two teeth are here.  Sleep has been a bit restless this month and I think that is why.  He will cry out in his sleep and when I go in to check on him he is crying, but still restlessly sleeping.  I think either he is experiencing growing pains, teething pains or bad dreams!
  • Clapping!!
  • Jake was the first one to show interest in self-feeding by throwing a bit of a tantrum at the table when I would try to feed him.  So we've started finger foods.  He'll use his fist to feed himself, but isn't real good at hitting his mouth yet.  He is a super messy eater, especially because he bangs on everything, mashing it.
  • He loves eating blueberries in his little nuby masher.  He will suck on it and make all kinds of noises.  At one point I was feeding Max who stopped to look over at him like "what's with all the noise, dude".
  • He gets himself up to standing using everything he can to climb on.  Now he is even just scaling up the wall to get himself to standing.  He will grab for the freezer handle with his toes almost off the ground and has quite a grip when we try to shoo him off.  
  • Scaling the furniture to walk.  We watched him go all the way down the couch on Feb 15th.
  • He is like the fastest crawler ever and will really come barreling.
  • Big Jake is definitely living up to his nickname.  He's just a really "thick and solid" guy.  With such a strong back and tree-trunk legs.  Such a difference in body mass when you hang on to him versus Max.  Definitely growing into our blonde hair, blue eyed little boy!

Five Things Mommy Loves About Jake:
1.  Always smiling
2.  Great snuggle buddy for sleeping
3.  When he sees me while he's playing and will stop to rush over to be picked up or hugged
4.  The way he'll stare or squint his eyes and you know he's taking it all in and computing something in his head
5.  Waving his arms when excited, especially when being picked up out of his highchair or crib.

Max milestones:

  • That second bottom tooth came in quickly after the first one popped through.  They are both coming in kind of crooked which is kinda cute.
  • Max now likes to hold the bottle himself when being fed.  If he's tired enough he'll lay in your lap to be fed, but definitely wants to be the one to hold the bottle.  Other times he's wandering around the living room occasionally stopping to feed himself.  I cringe because it can be messy as he drips it all over, but I'm all for self-feeding.  He'll really throw his head back to drink it too which is pretty funny.  
  • Max loves to eat.  He still likes for me to feed him for the most part and will grunt if I'm not doing it fast enough.  He's also pretty good at feeding himself finger foods, by picking it up with his fist.  He loves his sippy cup too.
  • Max still has those spaghetti arms and is really good at getting what he wants.  
  • He is scaling furniture and walls too.  Tonight he scaled himself around me and then down the couch in order to get a necklace of mine that he kept pulling at when I was wearing it.  When I took it off he didn't let it out of his sight and was determined to get it.  And he did.
  • Max still loves the swaddle when he needs to really relax.  He LOVES his muslin blankets and will roll around with it on the floor, when he finds one.  Daddy is really good at getting him to relax at night with his blanket and fall asleep.
  • Now that Max is completely crawling, his grunting whine has stopped which is wonderful.  He is a fast crawler and gets pretty excited when he is on the move.
  • Max is obsessed with doors this month.  Loves to shut them and bang on them in whatever room we are in.
  • While their weight differs like 1-2 lbs at most, Max is definitely a peanut compared to his brother.  Such a difference in body mass when holding and cuddling with him.  He is our little baby with a big personality and is always entertaining us.

 Five Things Mommy Loves About Max:
1.  That beautiful smile and those almond shaped eyes
2.  Hearing his hands & feet hit the floor and excited panting as he comes to find where I'm at.
3.  His excited crawl over to me to be picked up for a hug when I get home from work.
4.  His busy-body attitude, Max likes to be entertained.  While this is sometimes trying, Mommy can relate so it is an admired quality!
5.  His woodchuck sounding laugh.  Especially when he's excited because he's being fed or gets to grab something new and exciting.

Puppy-Like Habits of My Boys:
  • Chewing on all furniture.  I just noticed Jake's crib has a ton of teeth marks and is missing paint?
  • Stealth-like hearing (like a hunting dog).  Their heads will swivel at even the slightest noise and then they are off to find it.  If Chris makes a noise while getting ready in the morning, they will stop what they are doing to investigate and then sit outside the door to wait for him.
  • Begging for food and staring while you eat.  If I'm on the ground eating a snack, they will literally be crawling on top of me trying to grab it.  I am going to have to start sneaking treats like my sister, Anna has to do!
  • Diving for food when it is served.  If I put a snack such as cheerios on their tray, they will dive forward for it and scoop it up by the handful to try to get it to their mouth.
  • Humping furniture.  Now that they can stand up, their signature move is rocking themselves back and forth as they hang onto anything.  Ok, so not quite humping but that is what it looks like sometimes....
  • Starting to understand time and/or schedules perhaps.  There are things I do in the morning to get ready (put make-up on at kitchen table and letting them play in our room while I get dressed) that signal I'm leaving for the day.  We think they are starting to catch on because they get a little panicked sometimes wanting to be held.  On the day of the snowstorm Ammy said that Jake was literally sitting by the gate whining as it got to be later and later and I still wasn't home.  Almost as if he knew what time I got home everyday and that I was late.  

They really do travel in pairs and it seems like Jake has gotten a little more aggressive this past month, especially looking at the pictures above.  He seemed to be letting Max get away with a lot up until now!

They are into everything and Chris said it well in that it seems like we are just "plugging holes" because each day something else is being taken down, covered up or knocked over.  I finally gave in and we moved the wine rack into the basement,.......into what is supposed to be an office (which has now basically become a storage room).  As we did it Chris said "don't worry it's only temporary, just a couple of years". Oh man.  

We gave them their fast bath together.  We've just always bathed them one by one up until this point and I never even thought of doing it together.  They LOVE the bath.  I actually think its because they love the bathroom for some reason and at bath time they get to be in it because otherwise we shut them out during the day.  The first thing they do is stand up at the tub and bang on it while the water is filling up.  Then they do pretty good in the tub because they like the few toys they have in there.  Max is a big splasher.  Gotta love baby butts!

We struggled with a lot of sickness this month including a 12 day stretch of a stomach virus being passed back and forth.  Including Max getting sick all over Mommy when Daddy was still on a plane coming home from New York for work.  I'll spare all the details, but just paint this picture:  I've got one kid that just puked on me multiple times and another who is tired and wants to be held and fed.  In a shocked stupor thinking: "I don't know what the hell to do first", I just sat on the kitchen floor with Max and me covered in puke and him looking at me bewildered at what just happened and Jake is pawing at me trying to crawl into my lap screaming bloody murder.  After calling Anna for S.O.S. but not getting her, I finally pulled it together, got Jake started feeding (thank god for bottle propping in the snoogle all this time) so that I could change Max and I.  Then I rocked with both of them for the next hour until Chris was home.  This happened the following week, again while Chris wasn't home.  After sanitizing literally everything in our house, I think we've kicked it.  The picture above with Jake on the floor is one of the nights Max puked where I was afraid to put him down and was waiting for Chris to get home to put Jake to bed, but instead he put himself to bed on the floor.  One thing that is nice about those two is they can usually be sympathetic for the other.  If one is upset, the other one usually lets him have the attention and behaves himself.

They definitely love their Mommy and Daddy, of course.  I'd say Jake is a bit of a Mama's boy and Max can easily get into a relaxed groove with Daddy.  They also do great with Ammy, the nanny.  Today she came while I was finishing feeding them and they both had big smiles when they saw that the noises they were hearing was her coming in.  I always tell them their "friend" is here when she comes in and she definitely is their friend.  Max wanted out of his highchair right away and when I put him in the ground he crawled over to her to be picked up.  It warmed my heart to see that (as long as he never chooses to go to her over me, right?).  

Everybody always gets free laundry basket rides on laundry day.  And I had to throw in at least one tantrum picture, right?  
Happy 9 Months, I say this often but some days I still can't believe they are here and they are ours.