Monday, August 25, 2014

Twins: Three Months

Our little guys are officially three months old.  Wow.  They celebrated by sleeping until 6 a.m. for the first time (that's 8.5 hours of straight sleep for them) and being good boys all day yesterday.  Mommy & Daddy celebrated by taking a long family walk at Grant Park and getting ice cream after dinner.  We all woke up in good moods from our uninterrupted sleep and had a morning full of smiles, coos and pictures in their jammies.  My heart just bursts looking at these photos.  Parenthood is still so surreal and it feels so amazing.





 
Prepare for a lot of pictures. We'll start at their two month doctor appointment.  They doubled in weight from their two week appointment and Jake was 12 lbs. 15 oz. and 23.5 inches long.  Max was 12 lbs. 5 oz. and 22.5 inches long.  They got their first round of vaccinations and did okay for the most part.  We watched as their faces went from content to complete shock & terror, but the nurse was super quick and it was over and they were back in our arms.  We've never seen Max so red and so upset.  They had a night full of cuddles and sleeping on our chests and the next day they were back to themselves.  Next appointment and round of shots is at 4 months old. 
 
They were fidgeting so much on the table below that the paper kept rustling while we were talking to the Dr., it still makes me giggle thinking about it.  They are such fidgeters and someone is always hitting the other in the face.  (See pics above too).  Love them little potbellies. 


 
Some more sibling pictures.  I do have such fun dressing them!!

 

 
 
About Jake:  AKA the Jakester
 
Jake is our born again Christian (Chris' words).  Our fussy baby has been replaced by a pretty content and predictable baby.  I believe all that extra time with him during his fussy days got me to know him better and really helped to build our bond.  I do think he is a bit of a Momma's Boy.  While he still loves to be held, he has learned to be on his own now too.  Our daytime has way less outbursts and sweaty breakdowns.  He loves to be in the swing or sit in the boppy and take a nap (his "recliner") and is pretty good at tummy time too just as long as he isn't tired.  He loves stroller and car rides and is instantly relaxed and sleeping.  He is like his Daddy and is a morning guy, but I think he is also smart like him and has learned that morning is the time to get his special cuddles from Daddy before work or back in bed with Mommy while his brother still sleeps.  At nighttime Jake is ready for bed, gets his swaddle and goes down without a peep.  He is not our night owl or our partier, as he had breakdowns at both Liam's birthday party and our block party signaling he just wanted to sleep and go home.  His arm stretches after any period of sleep are the funniest part about him, like he just woke up from a long winter nap each time.  Jake is our blonde, blue eyed baby like his Daddy and I absolutely love that about him. 


About Max:  AKA Mr. Beautiful
 
With his dark hair and dark complexion, Max is our little Italian stallion even though we have no Italian heritage.  His dimples and the fact that he would sleep till 8:30 a.m. got him the nickname Mr. Beautiful.  Plus that smile of his is so dashing.  Max is still Maxin' and Relaxin on some days, but he is definitely no longer our mellow baby.  We are finding that he doesn't really idle well anymore.  He's either bored or overstimulated after 5-10 mins of much of anything and is fussing and wants to be held.  Stroller rides and car rides have also frustrated him lately because he can't soothe himself back to sleep once he becomes upset.  Naps are the same way, it's hard to get him down and he'll become so upset when he is tired.  My Mom says that Max is like that Felix the Cat and those big eyes of his will follow you anywhere from side to side, up and down.  He won't take his eyes off you when your walking in the room.  He is our night owl and partier (takes after his Mom) and even at Liam's party was up with us at the bonfire and fireworks.  Some nights after the last bottle he will still be wide awake looking at us as if to say "what are we doing next guys?".  He'll smile at anything and even when I'm trying to be quiet to get him back to sleep or finish eating, he will think I'm playing with him and his face just lights up with that big smile of his.  It is truly heart melting.  
Milestones:  They definitely recognize Mommy and Daddy and will consistently smile and coo when we talk or do something silly.  Their eyes will also follow you throughout the room.  Their necks are pretty strong and they do well at tummy time as long as they are in the mood for it.  Kicking and their activity mat  is also a favorite.  They are sitting up in the bumbo now as well. 
 
Sleeping:  Nighttime has been getting pretty consistent.  For awhile they were waking at 3:00 to feed, these last few days it has been longer and I'm trying to keep it that way by seeing if they will take a paci instead when they wake during night.  So far its working and I have one week to perfect it before going back to work. 
 
Naptime is nonexistent pretty much. I haven't been able to workout a schedule yet.  I can tell their sleepy signs because they will be fussy and not hungry and a swaddle, rocking, paci and butt rub combo will usually have them out instantly, but never for too long.  Maybe 20-30 minutes in their crib, rock n play or wherever.  The remainder time consists of me usually rocking each one back to sleep on an alternate basis because they rarely sleep at the same time.  I've literally picked up Max and put him back down asleep five times during writing just this section alone which makes it hard to enjoy getting anything done.  This is why its best to just plan on getting nothing done and anything else is just a bonus.  I have NEVER been able to "sleep when the baby sleeps" as people tell you to do.  My usual position is one on my lap and the fussier one in my arms as that is what will get them to actually sleep best when they are both fussy.  This means I am trapped during this time if I didn't plan ahead with my phone/remote/computer in reach.  I'll take what I can with naps though as long as that means I get to sleep at night.  They are still in their rock n plays at night and we are thinking about transitioning to each of their cribs once we have the guts to start losing sleep.  


Feeding: I'm strictly business with my feeding schedule, but it has proven to be our saving grace with sleep at night by keeping their bellies full on a consistent schedule during the day.   At three months they ate 6 times a day and averaged about 4 oz. every 3 hours.  Stretching out sleep has helped to stretch out feedings and I think we are ready to drop a feeding.  They still eat in their snoogle at the same time for every feeding at home except the last bottle when Chris is here.  At night the other one gets woken to eat and they really take turns on who wakes first, so it isn't always the same baby.  During the day they are always ready for their next feeding so I never have to wake one.  They honestly feed best in the snoogle because they eat their entire bottle.  In people's arms they tend to want to sleep and don't eat as much.  Bottle propping is also a necessity with multiples and the little neck pillow is helpful for feedings when I'm not at home and can only hold the one baby.  I'm sure it makes Moms of single babies gasp.....   
 
Challenges:  Everything is definitely not all puppies and rainbows around here either.  Meltdown city usually happens in the evenings between 5:30 and 7:30.  Usually because they are tired.  Likely because they aren't good nappers during the day. 
 
I make a lot of plans for us, which is fun, but also stressful.  Getting out of the house in one piece, timing the feedings to do so, car rides without breakdowns, etc. 
 
It's hard to eat a meal, let alone actually enjoy it.  I eat breakfast and lunch on the floor in my backjack chair during one of their feedings each day or one armed, standing and holding a baby.  I squeeze in cooking or prepping dinner when I can during the day or one of us is usually cooking while the other one tends to fussy babies at night.  Forget eating it in peace or really tasting it because it is usually shoveled in while listening to fussing or one handed with a baby in your arms.  We used to be food bloggers, I think? 
 
Overall, I just have a constant rushed feeling to everything I do, just trying to get it done before someone gets upset, whether its running an errand with or without the kids or just doing something simple like emailing someone back.  That's the gig though and I wouldn't trade it for anything. 

 
We did a lot of memorable things this month too.  A big part was that they finally got to meet their Aunt and Uncle.  Veronica and Ryan came to visit from New York for a few days.  They wore their customized onesies to welcome them.  
 

I love this picture of the brothers holding brothers.  We went to The Rock Complex in Franklin and had some drinks and watched some baseball tournaments.  The place is super cool, I suggest checking it out if you like skiing, dirt biking or baseball.  It's also just awesome for just drinks and the view too. 

The boys were baptized in early August.  Of course, I put them in bowties and they wore linen pants and shirts.  It was beautiful and I cried.  We asked my sisters and their husbands to be Godparents and had each boy send them a video asking them. 
 
 
We attended a few parties, Liam's birthday, our block party, several bbqs and a pool party with my extended family.  They wore their ninja turtles outfits to Liam's party.  I received 3 at my shower!


I've wanted to get to the zoo all summer and finally got there on one of the hottest days.  Looking forward to going back in September for a walk we are doing with family and this time Chris will be along.  I want that traditional photo everyone has of their family on the train ride!!


Summer is coming to a close and this is my last week of maternity leave, sadly.  I've learned so much in these last three months. The girl that was helping me this summer is going to stay on full time as a nanny during the day so that I don't need to take the boys to a daycare.  That will be easier to transition.  I'm sure going to miss these little guys though.  And I'm sure there will be some things I don't miss.  I know it will be hard and I'm going to take it one day a time though like everything!!

 
 


Friday, July 25, 2014

The Twins: Two Months

Well the fellas are now two months.  Holy cow.  In those unsure newborn days I kept saying I just wanted them to be 8 weeks since that seemed like it would be a bit easier age.  They wouldn't be as delicate, they would have some neck control, nights would hopefully not be as sleepless, they would develop little personalities that I'd begin to understand and we'd be more into a groove.  Everyone always said "it will get better" and while in the trenches, I'd always ask when the heck that would be.  The answer was always 3ish months.  Although at two months, hindsight is 20/20 and I can say with certainty things have gotten easier, still challenging, but easier.  A couple of weeks ago, I said that the days are about 60/40, meaning 60% good, 40% bad.   I'd bump that up to a 80/20 now, maybe higher.
 
Sleep:  Everyone's first question is how much sleep are we getting.  The answer is enough.  My goal is about 6 hours total a night and I've been getting about 7-8 on a really good night.  The boys are eating every 3 to 3.5 hours during the day (my goal is to get them to 4 hours) and this has helped to keep them on a schedule and keep their bellies full so they sleep longer at night.  Their first stretch of sleep is about 5-6 hours and they typically sleep from about 9:30 to 2:30.  The nights when they sleep until 3:00-4:00 are my favorite.  That gives me a great jump on the night if I can get to sleep by 10 too.  Once the first one wakes, the other one gets woken up (such is the life of a twin) and they are up about 30-45 mins. max to eat and then back to bed right away.  No talking, no cuddling.  Jake will sleep until 5:00ish each day and Max usually sleeps until 7:00.  Jake is our early riser with his Daddy and usually gets an extra hour of sleep in Daddy's arms or back for a nap in bed with Mom in the morning.  With Chris getting up early with Jake, I usually get another hour of sleep which is awesome.  Nighttime and losing sleep used to give me anxiety, but that has definitely gotten better if not gone completely (for now).
 
Weight:  I don't know what their weight or stats are at this point as their two month appointment isn't until next week along with their vaccinations.  My guess is that Jake is at least 10 lbs. with Max not too far behind.  Both are really growing, it's amazing (although I think I was feeding them too much/too often for a bit). 
 
Milestones:  They've got eyelashes!  All of a sudden one day I noticed their eyelashes were just there.  So adorable, I just want to put mascara on them.  Lol.  Smiles are becoming more frequent.  Lots of smiles after having a full tummy and not just the reflex ones when their eyes are closed.  My Mom got Max to smile 3 times the other day using her high pitched baby voice.  They definitely love the sound of our voices and one day my Mother's Helper said both boys were almost sleeping and perked up, eyes open at the sound of my voice looking for me when I came in the room.  They've got real strong necks and just love looking around, especially at the collage of black framed pictures on our wall and the patterns of the window panes. 
 
Fussies:  Both are kings of gas (who knew babies could fart so loud?) and for awhile they seemed to have a tough time "pushing it out".  Unfortunately a call to the Dr. had us find out that this is just a stage they have to go through with their immature tummies just getting used to everything.  It was so unbearable to watch them experience as sometimes it just seems so intense and painful, especially for Jake.  Lots of gas drops and bicycle legs and they do seem to be outgrowing it. 
 
Nighttime is sometimes their "witching hour" which is funny as that is when they were the most active in my belly.  During these periods, their bath, bottle and bed is what they want and calms them down instantly.  Drawing that bath can be pretty stressful though with both screaming!  With Jake the morning riser, I think that sometimes at night he is begging for his bedtime routine as always seems ready.   
 
They also have a knack for knowing right when we are going to sit down to eat any meal as will instantly wake up from a nap or be fussbutts so that we end up wolfing down dinner or I've gotten pretty good at doing anything one handed these days.
 
Mommy's Favorite Things:  Maternity leave during the summer is pretty kick-ass.  I say that because in the beginning I felt the opposite.  My bedtime became 8:00ish when Chris and I were splitting up the night shift and I would cry myself to sleep those first two weeks going to bed when it was light out, while knowing that even my niece & nephew were probably still out playing.  Being inside with crying babies all day while it was sunny out and feeling like I was missing things was pretty bumming I've got to admit.  I partially blame the hormones and all for these feelings too. 
 
But now I love being able to take several walks in the stroller throughout the day, helps me get some sun and my exercise.  I love pushing that tank of a stroller around.  And the boys love the walks, I plop them in that stroller each time they seem bored and fussy in the house.
 
I love that I am pushing myself to be mobile with them.  Each week we visit the grandparents which toughens me up for road trips with them.  It's stressful each time to get out the door and worrying about them losing their marbles on the car ride, but I love driving in the car with the tunes and getting out and being social.  And I love when others get to see them and meet them.  We've been to Cedarburg & Janesville several times, the lakefront, Chicago suburbs, the pool and lots of play dates just over to their cousins' house for the day. 
 
Right now they are napping in the pack and play outside while I write this.  Lucky ducks, what a life!
 
Here are pics of the little guys taken at my Mom's house the day before their 2 month birthday:

Check out Max's dimples! 

Bros for Life

Seriously, Max?!  So cute.  And Jake looks like a little butterball here.  Love it.

We spent 4th of July in Cedarburg and did the small town thing with Chris' parents.  Chris ran a 5K and I walked the 2 mile, we went to the music in the park that afternoon, had a few beers and then swapped the beers for ice cream instead.  It was definitely out of the norm for how I usually celebrate the 4th (with lots of alcohol) and I loved having the boys with us to celebrate and dress them cute! (Thanks for Gma F. for their outfits). 



 

This pic is classic and is on our fridge.  What a couple of goobers, hey?!

Jake relaxing at night while grilling out

 
Max tuckered out the next morning

The many faces of Jake
The many faces of Max

Some other Favorites of just relaxing at home,
my birthday and a night on the deck with Dad.  
Some special events:  After pool day with their cousins (they slept shaded the whole time),
meeting the Johnson triplets and Jake's first wedding as Mommy's date.  
 
 One day we walked around the lakefront after meeting Daddy for lunch at Northpoint for burgers and fries.  They also got to dine alfresco.
Two months.  It's still surreal and some days I can't believe they are ours.  I can't complain, they are pretty adorable!!

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

The Twins, One Month

So we've survived a month together.  It's been a whirlwind and has gone fast.  We are still getting to know each other and the days are definitely challenging, but overall life is good. 
 
Each week I've had visitors here to help or planned days out of the house to visit others who can lend a hand.  I've also got a Mother's Helper coming in 1-2 days a week for a few hours which is great and gives me time to get things done around the house, run errands, or things like writing this blog. 
 
I've got my six week appointment later this week and overall am feeling back to myself.  Emotions and all. 
 
I wanted to get some first month pictures out on the blog, so here goes:
 
We took some non-professional pictures at home to use for a birth announcement. 
 

 






I attempted one-month pictures.  

They lasted two minutes and then it turned into a meltdown.  Crack me up.
 
 
These next two were taken at exactly one month. 
A couple of muscle-men.

 
Waiting for Daddy to come home one day

Chris had his first Father's Day

We've come into a routine with bath-time each night, including a lettuce bath.  Dan's Mom swears that if you wash the babies each night with lettuce (any kind) and wash their heads, shoulders, back, etc. with it, that they will sleep through the night at three months.  We started the lettuce bath and combine it with lavender lotion and a similar routine each night and it has worked, so we are continuing it, lettuce and all. 





We just had a great 4th of July in Cedarburg that I hope to upload pictures from next.