Saturday, January 28, 2012

Rafflecopter.

Do you enter as many giveaways on blogs as I do?  Because I enter as many as I can.  I love to win stuff, so why not?  And Rafflecopter makes it insanely easy to do so.  So I LOVE when bloggers use Rafflecopter for their giveaways.  And to celebrate 2012, they're giving away an iPad 2 and  Kindle Fire.  Sure there are already 75,000 other entries, but why not enter when they make it so easy?  Who knows, it could be your lucky day!  So head on over to http://www.rafflecopter.com/ to enter!

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

I love cute things.

You may not know this about me, but I love to read Mommy blogs.  One of my faves is The Southern Belle {and her boys}.  Jessica seems like a great girl who loves God, her firefighter hubby, and her sweet boys (a 2 year old and one on the way).  If you don't read her blog, you should.

She has a very cool giveaway going on over at her giveaway blog - The Southern Belle Baby Giveaways.  Up for grabs is a 5x5 custom pet portrait by Linny Fish Designs.  Check out some of her work:



And she painted these for Jessica's little man's nursery:


They are too cute for words and it would make the perfect gift for a certain man in my life who is head-over-heels in love with a certain dog of mine, so I'm telling everyone about it and racking up entries.  You should head over and enter too.  And if I don't win?  I'm definitely cashing in on the 20% off through the end of February with the coupon code SOUTHERNBELLEBABY.  I love it when blogs make gift-giving fun and easy.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Twin Weight Tuesdays.

I need some accountability.  Because when I'm home by myself all day juggling 2 infants, a toddler, and 3 dogs, I have NONE.  Random things fly into my mouth without a second (or even first) thought because I rarely have time to sit down and eat, let alone fix something.  So it's crackers, cookies ... junk.  And every day my weight creeps up just a tiny bit.  It's baaaaaad.  So every Tuesday I'm going to update that the 3 people that read my blog can see what I'm doing (or not doing) and that might make me feel like I need to have some accountability.  We'll see.

Good news is that I finally finished the Christmas 100 miles.  So now I'm on to the Birthday 250.  Just over 2 months left ... oh my!

Tricking the picky eater (and his mommy).

(photo courtesy of Food Doodles)

I don't know about you, but my kid is P-I-C-K-Y.  He's come a very long way, but I'd still like to be able to get some healthier things in him.  He's a big fan of "bars" (granola bars) and while they're fairly healthy, they're still full of preservatives and what not.  I'm far from afraid of preservatives and stuff that's in our food these days, but if I can make something healthier, why not?  So when I came across these on the almighty Pinterest, I decided to try them out on the munchkin.  Friends, they are delish.  He loved them, I loved them.  It definitely tastes like you're eating something that's bad for you.  But at 90 calories each, they aren't too bad.

The original recipe can be found at Food Doodles and Oh She Glows.  I changed it up a little bit.  Next time, I think I'll only use one banana and maybe a little more cereal.  And I also think I'll do twice the dried fruit and no chocolate chips.  Another variation I've seen has coconut sprinkled on the top.  YUM.  Make them your own and enjoy!


Frosty No-Bake Granola Bars  
2 large overripe bananas
1 cup oats (I used a little more because it was the end of the container)
1/2 cup crunchy cereal (I used bran flakes)
2 tbsp pure maple syrup(or any other sweetener you use) (I used honey)
2 tbsp peanut butter or other nut or seed butter
2 tbsp semi-sweet chocolate chips
2 tbsp dried cranberries or other fruit (I used raisins)
2 – 4 tsp cocoa powder (I used 3 tsp)



Mash the bananas, then add the maple syrup (or honey), peanut butter, and cocoa powder.  Stir in the oats, cereal, chocolate chips, and dried fruit.  Put cupcake liners in a muffin pan and press mixture in each tin.  The recipe makes 12.  Freeze for at least an hour before serving.  Enjoy!

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Confession.

I have a confession to make.  Ready to get all judgmental on me?

I really don't enjoy bath time.  Not my own, although you may think so with as infrequently as I shower these days.  But that really is just a lack of time.  And not baby bath time.  That's pretty straightforward, very easy, and they're blissfully calm in the tub.

It's Brennan's bath time.  I love that boy with every ounce of my being.  But by the end of the day, I'm tired and my patience is warn thin, he is whiny and wild, and that, my friends, is not a good combo.  I know, it's supposed to be a time where I can enjoy him and we can play with duckies and give shampoo mo-hawks.  But honestly?  I don't like it.  In fact, I kind of dread it.

Sometimes I wonder if it's because the only time I do bath time is when I've been home alone all day and Brian isn't home by bedtime.  Bath time is usually their special Daddy/Brennan time while I tend to the twins and clean up the house.  So on the rare occurance that I actually have bath duty, it's usually because Daddy is working late and the kid resembles Pig Pen from the Peanuts.  And after an entire day of being home by myself with my boys my nerves are usually shot.  When it's convenient, I'm more than happy to have Brennan join me in the shower, but that's not usually practical in the evenings when I'm home by myself with the kids.  And I LOVE to do our bedtime routine after his bath.  But I honestly can't stand bath time.  And you know what?  I'm OK with that.  It's Brian and Brennan's special time.  And while I'll fill in when need be, I'll let them have their time together most nights.

I love my boys more than life itself; most moms will tell you that.  But there are women out there who would never admit that they need time away from their kids.  I'm not one of them.  I love being home with my boys every day.  But with 2 infants and a toddler, it's a very busy day.  And I know my limits.  I think that it makes me a better mom to acknowledge my weaknesses and focus on my strengths.  The fact that I don't enjoy every tiny aspect to motherhood doesn't make me a bad mom; it makes me human.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Be still my heart.

Just a little bit of brother snuggling ...




And just because he's insanely cute ...



I could not love them more.  For serious.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Therapy.


No, not the kind where you pour out your deepest, darkest secrets to a stranger while sitting on a leather couch. Although who knows, that may be in order as well.

We're talking physical therapy and speech therapy for the twins. I know, who ever heard of speech therapy for someone who has just learned to coo? I sure hadn't, although now I'm pretty sure I should have with all of the problems we had with Brennan's tongue when he was born. But, I digress (as always). Warning, this is going to be a bit lengthy, but I want to get this story out there....

When the boys were about 4 weeks old, I started to notice that they always slept with their heads tilted toward each other. At this point we still had live-in help, so the boys were rarely laying next to each other, except for when they were in their bassinets. We just got in the habit of putting Beckett in the one on the left and Kiernan in the one on the right. And we thought it was so sweet that they "looked" toward each other when they slept.

Fast forward a few weeks to when they were about 6 weeks old. Our visitors had returned home and I was home by myself most days with the boys. So of course they were spending more time on the floor. I noticed that they looked at each other when on the floor too, but rarely turned their heads from side to side. So I decided to start making a conscious effort to put Beckett on the right and Kiernan on the left. After a week, I decided that it wasn't that they were looking at each other, it was that Kiernan always looked to the right and Beckett always looked to the left. And their heads were starting to get flat spots on the places where they most frequently rested them. I mentioned this to the pediatrician at their 2 month appointment and within 3 minutes of being in the room, he noticed that neither baby was turning his head from side to side when laying down. He gave us instructions to do neck exercises with the boys 4 times per day and that we would re-evaluate at 4 months.

Meanwhile, I'd been struggling with breastfeeding. I'm certainly no stranger to nursing troubles, as Brennan had a severe tongue-thrust as a baby and was ultimately unable to nurse. The twins each had their own set of problems. At birth, Kiernan's blood sugar dropped to 24 (newborns should be above 45) and because it didn't increase after nursing, they gave him a bottle of formula. Beckett's blood sugar was 46, but because he would not nurse, they wanted to give him a bottle of formula so that his sugar wouldn't drop. This is a long story and something that I'll get into in another post.

So for the first few weeks I fought the good fight on the nursing front. Both boys could latch, but had a hard time staying latched. I had several appointments with the lactation consultant at the hospital where I delivered the boys. The LC maintained that the boys were latching well and that it was probably my low supply that was the problem. I followed her recommendations and still had troubles. A fellow MoM (mom of multiples) who has twin boys that are 4 months older than my boys recommended an LC at a hospital a little further away. This LC agreed that they were latching well, but not staying latched and recommended that I see a speech therapist who is also an LC.

This ST/LC is wonderful. She is so supportive and calming and just a wonderful person. She evaluated both boys and confirmed my suspicions that they had some weakness in their facial muscles. We now do cheek stretches with the boys and have changed the positions in which we feed them in order to make it easier for them and to encourage the strengthening of their cheeks and tongue. Kiernan will need a little more work than Beckett, but they'll both be just fine. She also recommended pursuing physical therapy whether the pediatrician agreed or not.

After seeing the boys again at 4 months, the pediatrician was happy with their progress, but was also on board with my (and the ST/LC's) desire for PT. So he recommended one not far from our house. She does home visits, which is especially convenient so I don't have to take poor Brennan or get a sitter for him. She is also wonderful. After evaluating each baby, she said that Kiernan's neck is very tight, but he has great muscle tone. Only one side of Beckett's neck is tight, but his muscle tone is a bit low, so he'll most likely require more therapy than his little brother.

These boys have had more appointments in their short little lives than fun outings around town. During the day, we do our assigned stretches and position changes. We nurse and bottle feed in special positions. We attend our necessary appointments and a breastfeeding support group. We are BUSY.

Sometimes I wonder why God chose to give me these slightly "higher-maintenance" babies. All 3 of my boys have had feeding issues and the twins have gross motor problems. None of them have been easy, straight-forward babies. Don't get me wrong, I count my blessings every.single.day that I was chosen to be Mommy to all 3 of these beautiful little boys and that they are happy and healthy, with no life-threatening or chronic issues, and I pray that it continues that way. But I still have to wonder what it's like to bring home a baby that nurses like a champ and only goes to the pediatrician for well visits, or maybe the occasional sick visit. But after some prayers and reflection I think I've arrived at my answer -- it's because I can handle it. God knows that I am capable of handling my special babies' needs. He knows that with some (OK, a lot of) sacrifices, we can survive on only Brian's income, so that I am able to stay home with my boys and take them to appointments and work with them every day. Really, no matter how much work they require, I feel insanely lucky to have been given these most precious gifts!


Buying stock in scented candles.

You know how when you start to smell poop and you have multiple kids in diapers you start sniffing butts? And the first one you check is positive, so you change it, but you still smell poop? And you're not sure if it's just in your nosehairs or if someone else actually went so you check the next one and he did it too? So you change him and you still smell it and your positive it's just in your nosehairs but you check the third one anyways and he went too? So you change him and now you're convinced that the stink has permeated your brain and that's all you'll smell for the next 3 days? Then you go outside to take the trash out and the smell goes away, but hits you like a brickwall when you walk back into the house?

Yeah, that.

Helllooooo scented candles.

Sunday, January 15, 2012

4 months!






Beckett and Kiernan had their 4 month appointment with the pediatrician yesterday. The pediatrician was very happy with their development. They are definitely growing quickly! Here are the specifics:

Beckett
Weight: 16 lbs 15 oz (75-90 percentile)
Length: 26.5 inches (75-90 percentile)



Beckett is a very mellow kid. He really only gets upset when he's hungry or tired. He's my good breastfeeder, but takes a bottle too. He loves to smile and almost always has his tongue sticking out. And he's very into blowing bubbles lately. He's always soaking wet from drool! He hasn't found his own toes yet, but loves to laugh when we pull his feet up to his mouth. And he loves to kick, so he handles turning the motion-sensor star on while he and Kiernan are on their activity mat. Beckett is very interested in his surroundings, especially looking at his big brother. He's getting better at tummy time and loves to spend time in the exersaucer and jumper. But all of that activity causes him to be too busy to sleep, so his naps are pretty inconsistent. The only way that he'll nap during the day is in his swing. At night he'll sleep in his crib, but he still gets up usually once a night. But I'll take once a night!




Kiernan
Weight: 16 lbs 13 oz (50-75 percentile)
Length: 26.5 inches (75-90 percentile)


Kiernan is a very happy kid, but he is my "zero to sixty" kid. He feels very intense emotions. When he's happy, he's giddy. When he's upset, he's really angry. And he can swing between the two emotions in no time! He has found his toes and almost always has his feet in the air. He recently started rolling side to side while pulling on his toes, but hasn't made it all the way over onto his belly yet. He also likes to blow bubbles, but makes more noise and less drool. And always adds in his little shrieky-squawks, which makes his "little bird" nickname even more fitting. He likes to stand up when Mommy or Daddy are holding him and is very strong, but gets tired pretty quickly in the exersaucer. He's getting stronger though! Kiernan is my champion sleeper. He takes long, regular naps during the day and sleeps about 10 hours at night. He always has a big smile for Mommy when he wakes up! He also likes to eat, mainly from the bottle, but he's getting better at nursing too.



Saturday, January 14, 2012

OLTW



Operation Lose the Twin Weight, or more easily written as OLTW, is still in full effect. Well, that still should really be a back. I gained a few pounds while back in Michigan, but come on, we ate ham and cheesy potatoes for like a week straight. But those few pounds are gone again, simply by returning home and eating like normal again. Brian and I are both using a Calorie Counter app on our phones to track our food for the day, which helps tremendously. We can scan the barcode on the packaging of what we're eating or do a quick search for it, and even save it as a favorite meal. This comes in handy as I usually eat a bowl of oatmeal (with raisins or half of a banana mixed in!) for breakfast and a sandwich or wrap for lunch. It's nice to be doing it together too. Makes you think twice before dipping into Brennan's "nums" (M&Ms) because you know you'll have to record it.

I'm also getting back on the treadmill. I came down with a cold about a week and a half before Christmas, so Brian's present was put on hold. And I didn't even take workout gear to MI because I'm a realist and I decided not to waste the precious suitcase space. The most exercise I got during those 10 days was playing Just Dance on the Wii. (Which is insanely fun, especially because it's one of the few games that I can kick my husband's arse in). Then I came home and just haven't gotten back into the routine of doing it. Complete and total laziness. But I'm working on it. I think I have just a few more to go to hit 100 miles. Then it's on to his birthday gift ... 250 miles by April 4. Yikes. If I don't get moving I'm gonna be running 15 miles per day in late March. To help with this 250 miles goal, I told Brian to pick a 5K for me to run in a few months. And long term, I'd like to shoot for running the Disney Wine and Dine half marathon next October. I said "shoot for" people, don't get too excited.


Looking at pictures is also good motivation. Take for example this lovely photo of myself and Kiernan, falling asleep after nursing:



Awwww, look at the cute sleeping baby ... HOLY CHINS!! That my friends, is not twin belly ... that is just plain fat. And unhealthy. And it's going bye-bye!!

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Did December even happen?


No really. I'm not sure. Because those 31 days were a total blur. I tried getting ready for Christmas early, I really did. I had great aspirations of handmade gifts and holiday fun for the first Christmas that Brennan would kinda "get". I'm not sure why I thought I could pull that off when I am so consumed with taking care of children and maintaining a (semi) clean environment for them that I can barely keep my master bathroom from looking like a truck stop. Then there was that whole "how the heck am I supposed to get in the Christmas spirit when it's so hot outside that I have to turn on the AC because I'm sweating too much while putting up my tree?!" phase. Take that, add a dash of hearing "I'm Dreaming of a White Christmas" on the radio and you get a bawling, blubbering mess of a me.

But eventually I pulled myself up by the bootstraps, told myself to do it for the kiddo, and figured out that if I waited til after dark and cranked up the AC I could *almost* trick myself into believing that it wasn't hotter than the surface of the sun outside. So all 3 of the trees went up, hubby threw some icicle lights (ha!) on the front of the house, and we watched our kiddos stare at the lights in delight.

We were also lucky enough to have our friend Heather and her little man join us for a few days. She was a HUGE help around the house and Brennan and her little B had a blast playing with each other. When they left, we had 17 ... SEVENTEEN ... meals in our freezer and some cleaning projects that were starting to make me tick accomplished. What an amazing friend. Seriously.

A few days after they left, we hopped on a place and headed for the mitten. And when I say "hopped" I mean strategically executed a very carefully and methodically planned out process of getting 2 adults, 2 infants, a toddler, 2 carseats, a stroller, and crap-tons of luggage from the long term parking lot, into the airport, and onto the plane. Seriously, we amazed ourselves with how well it went. The next 10 days were a blur of parties, presents, and slobbery grandma kisses. The twins first Christmas was a great one, spent surrounded by family and friends. And their baptism on New Years Eve was beautiful. We're so blessed to be able to have my Dad baptize them. When all was said and done, we decided that it was a great trip, but we were glad to be home again and not living out of suitcases. And when we head back again in June, we'll be all the more experienced.

Then I sat down to write a blog entry and realized that it's now January. And it's a new year. And my babies are 4 months old and smiling and drooling and (mostly) sleeping through the night. Holy balls. You think time flies with your first child til you have your second (and third) and realize that it actually travels at light speed. Now if I could only figure out a way to keep up...