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Friday, March 30, 2012

Conversations with a 2 year old.

I just had the best conversation with Brennan.  Two weeks ago he decided to become a little adult and has been getting progressively better at conversing with us.  It's amazing and adorable and makes me want to squeeze the life out of him.

(I had just eaten a Hershey Kiss and Brennan came over to tell me something.)

Brennan: ::sniff sniff::  Um Mommy, put chocolate in hand!
Me: You want me to put chocolate in your hand?
Brennan:  Yeah yeah.  Brennan neeeeeeeds chocolate.  Yum yum.
Me:  I don't have any chocolate.  Where do you think we could find some?
Brennan:  Hmmm, let's see.  Treats over there on counter.
Me:  There's treats on the counter?  Where?
Brennan:  Show you!!  This way OK!! This way go Mom!  ::runs to kitchen::  Right there hind you chips!
Me:  The treats are behind the chips?
Brennan:  Yeah yeah.  Treats in hand.  Please Mom.  Three treats in hand.  Yum yum.
Me:  You want three treats?  That's a lot for a little Brennan.
Brennan:  Hmmm, let's see.  Brennan not little.  Brennan three treats in hand!
Me:  How about you have one treat now and after dinner you can have another treat?  Is that OK?
Brennan: How bout three treats now?
Me: No.  One treat now or no treats now.  Do you want a treat now?
Brennan:  OK thank you please Mom.  Welcome Mom.
Me: I'm supposed to say you're welcome Brennan.
Brennan:  Oh sorry.  Welcome Brennan.  How bout Brennan have treat for brother?
Me:  No, brother doesn't eat treats yet.  Someday you can share your treats with him.
Brennan:  Uh oh OK Brennan eat brother treat.
Me:  No, Brennan already ate a treat.  No more treats til after dinner.
Brennan:  Uh oh OK Brennan eat chips.

He's a smart one, that kid.  I adore him.

Favorite Posts Friday.

I did way more reading than writing this week.  There wasn't much time for writing while nursing my 4 sick men back to health, but there was plenty of time for reading.  And I found lots of great posts to read!  Luckily, {I hope} everyone is almost all better and we can resume normal life ... which means I can start writing again!

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Entertaining a baby (or 3) while pumping.

My twins have never been exclusively breastfed.  We've struggled long and hard with breastfeeding and milk supply issues.  (It's a very long, very frustrating story you can read about here if you're interested.)  Because of all of our issues, I've spent more time than I'd like to admit hooked up to my lovely breast pump.  At one point, I was pumping every 2-3 hours around the clock, plus nursing and bottle feeding.  That doesn't leave much time for anything else.  But unfortunately it's what my body requires to keep up my supply.

It's time consuming and having 3 little boys under 3 is also time consuming.  With the exception of the first 3 weeks of the twins' lives, I don't have any help during the day.  So being hooked up to a pump for 20 minutes is not exactly ideal.  When the boys want attention while I'm pumping, 20 minutes can seem like 2 hours.  A visitor recently asked me when I was disappearing to my room to pump how I manage doing it when I'm here by myself.  After clearing up her assumption that I pump in my bedroom when I'm here by myself, I started thinking that it might be fun to list my crazy tips for keeping my children entertained while I'm hooked up to the milking machine.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

the plague.

This is a sad, pitiful household friends. 

Last Sunday, Beckett came down with a fever.  He was cranky and fussy and just didn't feel good.  Meanwhile, Brennan came down with a fever.  He spent a night in our bed for a night and had a few lazy, snuggly days.  Then Kiernan and I both spiked fevers and Kiernan started a little cough.  Daddy came home to save the day and I slept for hours and felt functional again.

Friday, March 23, 2012

Favorite Posts Friday.

Ahhhh.  It's Friday.  What a beautiful thing.

My list this week is a little light. Maybe it's because I just wasn't feeling most of the posts that showed up in my reader, or maybe it's because I skimmed over a lot of them while wrestling sick babies, half exhausted.  Either way, here are a few of my faves!

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Doing the best I can.

It's 6:52 p.m.  I'm feeding Beckett in the rocking chair in a dark nursery, the soothing sounds of ocean waves crashing from the Sleep Sheep. It should be a calm, quiet environment.

But instead, I'm stressed out.

Beyond the ocean waves are wails and whines.  Brennan is done with his dinner and more than ready to get out of his chair.  Kiernan is starting to get sleepy and hungry and is letting me know ... very loudly.  But I can't leave Beckett yet.   He's drifting, but fighting sleep because he's fighting a fever and doesn't feel well.  Brian is working late, so bedtime routines fall completely on my shoulders.

44:27.5 {Twin Weight Tuesday}.

On Sunday we woke up at the butt-crack of dawn (which I suppose is really no different than most days).  We got dressed in workout gear and loaded the boys in the car and headed to the park near our house for the Strawberry Festival 5K.  This is a pretty common occurance in our family as it's no secret that Brian is an psycho avid runner.

But this time was different.  This time I was the race participant and Brian stood on the sidelines to cheer me on.  It was odd to have this role reversal.  I've become an expert at scouring course maps to find strategically placed cheering spots.  I know his pre-race ritual like clockwork and am always available to hold shedded layers of clothing.  I know his paces for various race lengths and how much time I have to move between cheering spots.  

Monday, March 19, 2012

Gase Family Weekend

Who's ready for 293487239 pictures of my insanely adorable children????  If you're not, you might want to skip this post.  Seriously folks, it's not for the faint of heart.  I made some painfully cute boys.  And I'm not partial at all.

Brian's family was in town this past weekend.  His sister turns the big 3-0 this week, and her hubby decided to throw her a surprise party.  So Brian's parents flew in to celebrate and came in a few days early to spend some time with us first.

Want a naner?

Well, the boys are 6 months old now so I figured I should introduce some solids.  Funny how with Brennan I couldn't wait another minute to start him on real food.  And with these guys?  I've been dragging my feet.  And the only reason I'm doing it now is that they're really starting to lunge for our food.  The difference between a baby who wants to try food and one who couldn't care less about food is amazing.

So a week after they turned 6 months we started some rice cereal.  Personally, I hate the idea of rice cereal.  Sure it's iron-fortified, but so is baby formula.  And sure it's a low-allergen food and easily digested, but so are vegetables.  But Brian had picked some up while he was at the store, so I figured we'd give it a try.  

Friday, March 16, 2012

Really? It bothers you? That's weird. I enjoy hearing my babies cry.

{look out folks ... there's a rant coming ...}

People are stupid and annoying.

Life with multiples is different from life with one baby at a time.  It just is.

When you have one baby at a time, generally if that baby is crying you are able to pick him up while dealing with older children.  But guess what?  When you have two babies, sometimes one of them has to cry for a few minutes.  It's not fair.  It's not enjoyable.  But it happens.

Favorite Posts Friday.

Time for another peek at what I've been busy doing while feeding babies.  They're both hitting 6 month growth spurts right now.  So if you're looking for me I'm the one in the corner with the sore nipples and wrist cramps from holding a bottle and nursing simultaneously.  Anyways, between troubleshooting sleep issues, feeding the beasts, and troubleshooting sleep again because of the flippin' time change, I've been doing lots of reading.  I skipped last week, so check out my fave blog posts from the past two weeks!

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Wordless Wednesday.

Brennan - 2 years 5 months 

Kiernan  (left) & Beckett (right) - 6 months

Kiernan (left) & Beckett (right) - 6 months

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Twin Weight Tuesdays.

I didn't do a Twin Weight post last week because I was feeling {blegh} about weight loss in general.

But I'm back this week with good news.  I've lost a few more pounds and have reached my first of several small goals on the road to my overall goal.  It feels good to have accomplished something and that leaves me thirsting for more success.

Monday, March 12, 2012


I've been thinking about writing about my breastfeeding journey for awhile now.  I've become quite the pro at troubleshooting issues, have lamented to many of my girlfriends along the way, and have been a sounding board for many others.  When my friend Lorryn wrote about her experiences making "skim milk", I decided that it was time to get it down in writing.  It's a long post kids, so hang in there.  And if talking about boobs and nipples makes you squeamish, this is totally not your post.  Go back and read the one about how daylight savings time sucks or something.

Mothers against Daylight Savings time.

George Vernon Hudson can suck it.  Apparently he's the one to blame for this whole time change thing.  Or at least that's who Wikipedia tells me to blame.

I used to love the time change.  It was nice to shake things up a bit with "spring forward" and "fall back".  The most it affected me was to make sure I wasn't working the night of "fall back" when I'd be helping catch babies for a looooong thirteen hours instead of a manageable twelve.

Friday, March 9, 2012

I speak for the trees.

One of Brian's favorite books, if not his very favorite, is Dr. Seuss' The Lorax.  He can recite every line to the entire book from memory.  And I should point out that he's been able to do so since the day I met him ... therefore before children.  Not kidding.

When we wanted to decide on unisex nursery bedding while I was pregnant with Brennan, we chose the Dr. Seuss collection at Pottery Barn Kids.  The bedding was gorgeous and we painted murals on the walls.  It was the perfect place to bring home a baby.  Bright and cheerful, yet soft and warm.  I loved that room.

One of the murals on the walls was of course The Lorax, with his most famous line painted above him.  Every night for the first 14 months of his life, we read Brennan books in the chair below Mr. Lorax.

You can imagine our excitement when we learned that it was being made into a movie.  We both wanted to take Brennan, but weren't sure if he'd be excited about going.  He's definitely more into Mickey and Toy Story these days than the Lorax.  No matter how much his parents pound it into him.

So I was pleasantly surprised when he got insanely excited over a preview for the movie one day and flew to his brothers' room to find the "Lore-aaa" doll.  Every time he saw a preview after that he'd search desperately for the doll and repeat "see Lore-aaa, see Lore-aaa!" for hours afterward.  So the decision was made.  I picked a day, lined up a twin-sitter, and off we went for a Mommy-Daddy-Brennan date.

We made a quick stop at Taco Bell/Pizza Hut for a delicious nutritious dinner.  Don't judge.  It was the only place had time for and could think of that could please Brennan and had Brian-friendly meatless options.  

Brennan seemed a little intimidated by the movie theater at first.  He clutched his Lorax doll while we stood in line to buy tickets (um, a kid's ticket was a dollar cheaper than ours ... A DOLLAR!  God help us when we have 2 more tickets to buy.)  We stopped by the Lorax sign to take a picture on the way into the theater.

Crappy cell phone picture.  We forgot the camera.  Of course.

He spent most of the movie on Daddy's lap and I spent most of the movie watching him watch the movie snuggled on his Daddy's lap.  He had a few "Oh-no's" and one "I scared", but most of the time he had a big smile on his face.  Which of course meant that I had a big smile on my face.  When the credits started rolling, we asked him if he liked it and he said "yeah-yeah" with a big grin.  Then I cried.  

I can't believe my little tiny baby boy is growing up so fast.  I love being able to experience new things with him and Brian and I have decided that we're going to schedule more Mommy-Daddy-Brennan dates.  

6 months!

Oh my gosh.  I simply cannot believe that it has been 6 months since my sweet boys came into the world.  It has been a complete roller coaster ride, but an amazing one.  

Both boys are growing and thriving.  They usually sleep 12 hours through the night, although lately they've been getting up earlier and earlier for an extra feeding.  I think it's the 6 month growth spurt sneaking in.  We have been waiting to start baby food because a.) the speech therapist recommended it and b.) Mommy is not especially eager to deal with the extra mess of feeding 2 infants!  But we're starting this week so it should get interesting.  Here's what's been going on in the boys' lives individually!


18 pounds 3 ounces - 50th percentile
27 3/4 inches long - 75th-90th percentile

Oh Mr. Beckett.  He is the most mellow, laid back, content, happy kid on the block.  I want to bottle up his personality and sell it.  He's a mother's dream, except for one thing -- he doesn’t like to sleep.  In the morning, he's just so sweet and smiley.  But then morning naptime comes and he fights sleep and screams and fusses.  And before you know it, it's time for afternoon nap.  And now he's so overtired he really can't sleep.  He's happy if he's in my arms with 150% of my attention.  But unfortunately for him, he has 2 brothers who also need attention.  And gosh darn it, Mommy needs to pee every once in awhile.   Then bedtime comes and we spend hours feeding and soothing and pacing trying to get him to sleep.  On the plus side, once he's asleep, he's usually out for the night, with only the occasional waking for a feeding.  We're trying different things to help him sleep and really trying to be consistent with his schedule.  He's showing some progress and I can only pray that it continues!

Aside from his crappy sleeping habits, Beckett is a dream.  Like I said, he's a very pleasant kid.  I've learned that he is slow and methodical in his actions and seems to need permission and encouragement from mom before playing with certain toys or rolling over.  He thinks before he acts, studying and concentrating objects and movements.  He's making great progress in physical therapy.  In early February he found his toes and is now able to roll both ways and spend lots of time on his belly.  Beckett has the ability to move around quite a bit, but instead seems to be content where Mommy puts him, with whatever toy I put in front of him.  For this reason, he's getting very good at sitting unassisted.  I remember my mom telling me that I was very mellow baby, so I can only speculate that Beckett has taken on more of his Mommy's personality. 

18 pounds 3 ounces - 50th percentile
28 inches - 90th percentile

Kiernan is a "do-er".  He's adventurous and energetic and doesn't like to feel like he can't do something.  It seems that if he feels that way, he's bound and determined to prove otherwise.  His emotions are intense.  When he's happy, he's blissful.  When he's upset, he's ragingly angry.  And unlike his brother, he loves his sleep.   He's a very cut and dry kid.  Fairly easy to please.  As long as he's fed, dry, and not sleepy, he's happy.

I will say though, that Kiernan is becoming more and more adventurous.  He never stays on the quilt on the floor for long.  He's almost always rolling, wiggling, and scooting over to see something or someone.  Brennan's cars seem to intrigue him and you can usually find him with one in his hands.  Of course, this isn't very popular with big brother.  Poor Brennan will be learning a hard lesson in sharing as his little brothers become more mobile. 

Kiernan has a hard time sitting unassisted.  He's able to do it, but he's a back archer (something we're working on in physical therapy) and therefore doesn't sit well.  But on the other hand, he's getting very strong and is so close to being up on his hands and knees.  He pushes up very very high and pulls his knees under him, but they usually slide back out to the side.  The PT says that this is quite normal and has given us some exercise to help him.  Mommy is going to have her hands full once he gets the hang of it because he's already good at moving around without crawling!

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Life as we know it.

I was talking to someone the other day about a typical "schedule" for a 3 month old.  I knew that I had written a "day in the life" post a few months ago and when I went back to read it, so many emotions came rushing back.  In one sense I'm so proud of how far we've come.  The boys were 9 weeks old when I wrote that post, and I remember life feeling like chaos.  My help had gone home, the twins were still tiny, and Brennan had just barely turned 2.  In those days, I told myself that as long as all of my kids were fed, dry, and provided with a moderately clean living environment, that's all that mattered.  As hard as that was for me to swallow, I learned to accept it.

Fast forward to now.  The twins are 6 months old.  Brennan isn't quite 2 and a half, but he seems to have matured so much.  Our days have the same "bones" as they did in November, but the "meat" is different.  It still feels like chaos, but a controlled chaos.  Sure, some days are just bad, especially lately with Beckett's sleep issues, but for the most part, we're getting this down.  And it took reading that post for me to feel that way.  Yes, I can do this.  I AM doing it.

Most parents of multiples will tell you that you just need to survive the first year.  Just.Survive.  Most days I feel like we're surviving.  And some days, I even feel like we're thriving.

I want to write down another day-in-the-life post.  I want to have something for my future self to read in a few months so that I can see how far we've come again.  And I want to have something my future self can read in a few years and look back and laugh at.  And something that my future self can read in a few decades and dream about the days when my boys were babies.  And if another twin mama happens to get an example or a sense of reassurance or even a sense of superiority, that's a bonus.

Here's a peek at what those surviving days look like.

6:30-7:00 a.m. - The babies start to wake up.  I get the coffee going and bottle feed Kiernan (and nurse him if he'll have me).  When he's done, I nurse Beckett.  Commence baby playtime (which is includes physical therapy exercises).

7:30-8:00 a.m. - Brennan wakes up.  I get him his milk and get in a quick pumping session while enjoying my coffee.

9:00 a.m. - Time to start soothing babies to sleep.  While Brennan is watching Mickey Mouse, I head to the nursery with Kiernan.  He drinks his bottle fairly quickly and we rock in the dark room.  He goes into his crib awake and I give him a few minutes to fall asleep on his own.  Meanwhile, I make Brennan some breakfast and strap him into his high chair to eat. Usually by now Kiernan is almost out and I head to the nursery with Beckett.  He drinks his bottle and falls asleep in my arms.  I put him in his bed.

9:30 a.m. - Get myself and Brennan dressed.  Make and eat oatmeal.  Playtime with Brennan.

10:30-11:00 a.m. - The babies start to wake up.  I bottle/nurse Kiernan and nurse Beckett.  Playtime.  Maybe head outside to get some vitamin D.

12:00 p.m. - Lunchtime for Brennan.  Pump time for mom.

12:30 p.m. - Get Brennan ready and put him down for a nap by 12:45-1:00.

1:00 p.m. - Time for babies' afternoon nap.  Same ritual as morning nap.

1:30 p.m. - Lately I've been jumping on the treadmill before or after I eat a quick sandwich.  Some days I clean.  Every once in awhile I'll treat myself to a nap.  Sometimes I pump.

2:30-3:00 p.m. - Babies start to wake up.  Bottle/nurse Kiernan and nurse Beckett.  Baby playtime.

3:30-4:00 p.m. - Brennan wakes up.  Snack time for him.  Pump if I'm lucky.

This is where I start to follow baby cues.  The evening can go one of 2 ways - either the babies cat nap for about an hour at 5:00 p.m. and go to bed around 8:00 p.m., or they're still going strong at 5:00 and I just put them to bed for the night at 6:00 p.m.  More often lately, they've been out for the night at 6:00 p.m.  And when this happens, they usually sleep all the way through the night.  YAY!
6:30 p.m. - Brian gets home.  Dinner.

8:00 p.m. - Get Brennan ready for bed by 8:30.  Bath, PJs, brush teeth, read books, etc.  Brian usually does this while I start cleaning the aftermath of the day.

9:30 p.m. - Toys picked up, dishes done, bottles washed.  Collapse on the couch.  And then pump.

Of course, this is a perfect world scenario.  Many days are different.  But it all gets accomplished one way or another.  I keep reminding myself that it's only temporary.  And that one day I will look back and laugh and miss the days I got to spend snuggling my babies all day long.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012


February was another laid back month.  We settled into more of a routine and it felt pretty good.  This new routine includes parties with our company friends.  Every time we go to a party or I grab a drink with the girls, I thank God that we were plopped into the middle of a great group of people.  The stress of moving to a new place is eased by having ready-made friends.

It's been an unseasonably warm winter ... which sucks.  I'm craving jeans and hoodie weather.  But it's been nice to have the boys out and about to enjoy the warmth.  We spend days outside enjoying the sunshine.  Brennan loves to help Brian work outside and we've made a few trips to the park, where Brennan was able to run and play and the little ones were able to enjoy the swings.

Brennan enjoying a cool, rainy day in the back yard

Helping Daddy wash the car

Little boys enjoying the sunshine

Brennan started swimming lessons again.  That boy is a fish and loves every opportunity he gets to hop into the water.  He really progressed a lot this month and is paddling, kicking, and blowing bubbles like a champ.

We were lucky enough to have another visit from Aunt Jen and Uncle Brian.  They were in town for less than 24 hours (on their way home from a cruise) and stopped to spend some time with us.  We played games all afternoon and drove up to Titusville to have dinner with Brian's parents.

Beckett & Uncle Brian

Aunt Jen & Kiernan

Brennan in the kids' play area at the BBQ restaurant

My dear friend Laura offered to watch the boys so that Brian and I could spend Valentine's Day together.  We grabbed a quick dinner in downtown Melbourne and saw a crappy Underworld movie.  The movie was terrible and the dinner was mediocre, but spending some alone time together outside of the house and away from kids, work, and chores felt great.  It's times like that which remind me why I love him, other than his superior clothes folding skills and ability to feed a baby and chase a toddler at the same time.  

On "Fat Tuesday" we took the boys out for some all-you-can-eat ribs in honor of Daddy's giving up meat for Lent.  While tucked into our own little corner of the restaurant, we had several people come over and make small talk.  I very often feel like a circus side show when out in public with all 3 boys.  The questions and comments are always the same -- "Twins? Aren't they the cutest!?" and "Oh my, you have your hands full!"  But aside from the gushing over how adorable all 3 boys are, this time we had several people comment on how well behaved all 3 of them are.  It felt good to hear that maybe we're doing something right with our kiddos.  It was music to our ears and fuel for our nerves.   

March will be more of the same routine.  Swim lessons will be swapped out for beach days.  We plan on taking Brennan on a "date night" to see the Lorax movie.  I'm starting ballet lessons for exercise and to get out of the house.  We might have a visitor or two for a long weekend.  Some things are new, but many are the same.  This place, this life, is finally starting to feel like home.

Monday, March 5, 2012

I give up.

It's back.  The evil no-sleep curse that has taken over my Beckett.  I blame myself.  I never should have written about it and proclaimed it gone.

I give up.  I have no idea what to do anymore.  I've tried EVERYTHING.  I've read every book.

Nurse to sleep, bottle to sleep, no food before sleep.
Rock to sleep, put down awake.
Light room, dark room.
Bumper pad, no bumper pad.
White noise, no noise.
Mobile, no mobile.
Music and white noise, silence.
Swaddle, no swaddle.
Dark room, light room.
Back to sleep, belly to sleep.
Elevated head.
Put him down 1.5 hours after waking, 2 hours, 2.5 hours, 3 hours....
Stand by the crib and rub/pat/shush/soothe.
Cry it out ... for hours.

It doesn't work.  Any of it.  The only thing that seems to work is to hold him.  And people?  I can't hold him for his naps.  I have another infant and a toddler that need to be attended to.  It's just.not.possible!!!!!

I'm so frustrated I could cry.  Eventually at night he gives in and sleeps.  But it's usually after we've either let him cry off and on for a few hours or gone in and soothed him a million ways, a million times.  Luckily, he wakes up briefly at night and goes back to sleep easily.  So it's not sleepless nights that are the problem.  It's sleepless days.  On Sunday he slept for a total of 15 minutes from the time he woke up at 7:30 am until we finally got him to sleep at 10:00 pm.  People, he's so overtired it hurts.  I just don't know what to do anymore.  Suggestions/encouragement/hugs/alcohol welcome.  Cuz friends?  I'm going to lose my mind.

This is what it looks like when the elusive sleep actually occurs.  So peaceful.

Beach Bums.

On Saturday we took the boys to the beach.  Brennan of course is already a certified beach bum so he was in heaven.  Although the twins have been to the beach twice before, this was the first time that we were there long enough and that they were old enough to really experience it.  We met a group of friends for a going away party.  Brian expressed desires to stay "all day", which of course made me go into nervous wreck mode.  We all know I like my kids to be on their schedule and I just couldn't imagine spending more than 2 hours at the beach.  Let me tell you, it is not easy to pack for 2 adults, a toddler, and 2 infants to spend a day at the beach.  It took us a solid hour and a half to get ready to leave.

Pre-beach playtime

We live about 10 minutes away from the ocean, but we headed up to Cocoa Beach (which is about 25 minutes away) to have breakfast with some friends before heading to the beach.  The boys caught a quick nap on the way there and Brennan repeatedly yelled"Sand! Wa-wa!" the.entire.way.there.  

After a quick breakfast, we headed to the beach.  A few people have sun-shades, so the boys were able to be in the shade the whole time.  Beckett loved the beach from the minute we got there.  He laughed and squealed and blew bubbles all day long.  Kiernan definitely took some time to warm up to the idea.  He has very light and wind sensitive eyes, so even in the shade with a hat on he squinted quite a bit.  Gonna have to get that boy some baby sunglasses.  



We're so lucky to have friends who love our kids and are willing to help out with them.  We're very comfortable handing people a baby or asking someone to grab Brennan if we're both busy with babies and he strays too far.  

Brennan was so excited to get his toes in the water.  He hasn't been to the ocean since December and even then it was pretty cold.  Taking him to the beach is exhausting because he runs CONSTANTLY.  But it's worth it because we get to see him so happy.  Of course I can say that because I'm not the one who usually has to run around with him.  That's Daddy's job.  

Kiernan's first time with his toes in the ocean 

Beckett's first time with his toes in the ocean

Beckett and Kiernan got to dip their toes in the ocean for the first time.  Kiernan kept his head down.  I'm not sure if he was fascinated by the sand between his toes or if it was just too bright and windy for him.  Probably a mix of both.  He seemed to like the water though.  Beckett loved every part of it.  He's going to be a beach bum like his big brother.

Brennan seems to want to stress his mother out as much as possible and become a surfer.  He LOVED riding the waves.  It was adorable and terrifying at the same time.  Good thing I trust Brian more than anyone in this world to be in the water with him.  



One of the things I was worried about was missing naptime.  But not being at home didn't seem to phase anyone.  Beckett zonked out on our friend Laurie, Kiernan zonked out on me, and even Brennan took a minute to relax in the shade and drink some water.  

We were there for about 4 hours.  And it was a ton of fun.  Brian even said that he thought it was the best day he's had since we've moved here.  That gave me all kinds of warm fuzzies.  I love to see him happy instead of stressed from work.  It was nice to see a glimpse into our future and know that even though it's a little chaotic and we come home with exhausted children, it's possible.  And really fun. Can't wait to do it again!



Sunday, March 4, 2012

Freezer meals.

Awhile ago I stumbled upon the website/blog Once a Month Mom.  It's run by group of ladies who do "bulk cooking".  They plan a menu of meals to make, freeze, then eat throughout the month.  The thought of cooking this way fascinated me, but I had 2 newborns and had absolutely zero time to do it.

The, back in December, my AMAZING friend Heather came to visit.  While she was here she made us a few freezer meals.  Or 17.  Yes, seventeen freezer meals.  I can't tell you how unbelievably awesome it was not to have to worry about dinner for a month straight.  I simply decided what we'd have in the evening and put it in the fridge to thaw overnight.  Or if I forgot, I'd choose something that thaws quickly for that evening.  It has ensured that we don't eat pancakes for dinner every single night.  As the meals dwindled, I decided that I was going to do a big "bulk cooking" session for the month of March.

As you may know, Brian decided to give up meat for Lent.  For my carnivore husband, this is a big deal.  This man will eat a plate of meat at a time and nothing else.  It's kinda gross sometimes.  I feel sorry for his digestive system.

But I digress.  While Brennan and I still eat meat, I decided that a great way to shake up our dinner menu would be to do a "bulk cooking" session vegetarian style.  I scoured the Once a Month Mom vegetarian menus and came up with a few things that I thought Brian might might eat (and that sounded good to me) and chose a few from Pinterest and friends.  I decided to double almost all of the recipes and made the big giant grocery list.  One giant grocery bill and a counter full of groceries later, I was set to go.

It has taken me four days of cooking on and off to get them all done.  The good news is that each night we ate one of the meals that I was currently cooking, so it wasn't too much extra work.  Here are a few of the recipes and my thoughts on them (if we've tried them!)

(Chickpea Croquettes - Photo from here)
  • Chickpea Croquettes
  • Crustless Zucchini and Basil Mini-Quiches
  • Black Bean Salsa Quesadillas - Seriously, so insanely delicious.  I can't wait to eat them again.  I'm just hoping that they bake up nice and crispy in the oven and taste as good as they did fresh off the griddle.
  • Homemade "Panera" Mac'n'Cheese - Eh, it was OK.  I'll probably try a different version next time.  There are a million different ones on Pinterest.
  • Crockpot Falafel
  • Lentil and Rice Ground Beef Substitute - I made this to try in spaghetti or other Italian dishes.  It tasted pretty good when it came out of the oven, but I bet it won't pass the Brian test.  Doesn't quite taste "beefy" enough.
  • Cheese Beer Soup - I got this recipe from a vegetarian friend.  It's delish.  If you're interested in it, let me know and I can post the recipe.
  • Pasta, Grilled Veggies, and Hummus - This was an idea from a friend.  It's exactly what it sounds like.  Haven't tried it, but I know it'll be a hit.  Hubby loves him some hummus.  So does mama.
  • White Bean Enchiladas   - Delish.
  • Vegetable Chowder - This was really good.  And you could easily "skinny it up" with skim milk and low fat cheese and I bet it would still be hearty.  
  • I also made a big batch of oatmeal (recipe courtesy of The Heir to Blair) and put it in the fridge in small servings so I can have my daily oatmeal and save time.  
I have 22 meals in my freezer, plus four batches of ground beef substitute to be creative with.  We'll add fresh veggies and salads to meals that feel like they need something extra.  I'm so excited to have a freezer full of meals for the next month so that I don't have to scramble to figure out dinner!

Friday, March 2, 2012

Bring on the Brennan cute.

Brennan's vocabulary has been growing by miles these days.  Some things he says make me wonder where he picked it up, others make me want to throw him across the room, and others are so cute they make me melt into a giant mom puddle.  I want to bottle up these moments and save them forever.  Instead, I suppose I'll just record them so I can remember them after he and his brothers have successfully sucked out all of my brains.

  • "Help me!" -- He means he wants to "help you".  And no matter how much we correct him, he says "help me".  He'll get it someday.  In the meantime, I'm reveling in the cuteness.
  • "Up up away!!" -- Whenever he wants up on my lap he says this.  I'm not sure where he learned it, but it's ADORABLE.
  • "Right dare, hind you" -- Brian and Brennan have a game where Brian asks Brennan where something is and Brennan replies "dare".  Brian asks again and Brennan says "right dare!" When he asks again, he says "right there, hind you!" no matter where this object is.  Now he does it all day long.  He wanted something.out of a box yesterday and when I asked him where it was he said it was "right dare hind you mom".  I giggle.  And correct him of course.
  • "Alright brudda" -- When one of the babies is crying and I'm busy with the other, Brennan gets right in his face, pats his head, and says "alright brudda".  Of course, this either distracts a baby throwing a tantrum or further upsets a baby who genuinely wants something only mommy can provide.
  • "Big hug.  Big kiss.  Pat pat." -- Brennan loves to give hugs and kisses these days.  There was a time when it was like pulling teeth to get one out of him.  Now he's always coming up to me and showering me with love.  I adore it.  The repertoire goes like this: "Big hug Mom!" ::throws arms around me and squeezes::  "Big kiss Mom!"  ::plants lips on mine and holds them while going 'mmmmmmmmwa!'::  "Pat pat."  ::softly pats my cheek::  Seriously.  I melt every.single.time. 
  • "Wuv you" -- When saying he loves someone, my kid develops a southern accent.  His 'you' has an amazing drawl.  He used to only say it when I told him to.  Then he started saying it in response to someone saying it to him.  Now he says it randomly throughout the day.  There is NOTHING better than when he runs over, throws his arms around me, and says "Wuv you Mom!"

Of course, all of this cute is scattered amongst tantrums, screaming fits, and outright disobedience.  I firmly believe that 2 year olds must have a genetic predisposition to sprinkle the cute on top of the evil.  It's a survival mechanism.

Favorite Posts Friday.

So many times during the week I read a blog post and for whatever reason, love it and want to share it.  With the 5 people that read my blog and with my future self.  So I've decided to start collecting my favorite posts from the week and posting them to share on Fridays.  And of course make my own comments too.  Because that's how I roll.

  • The Southern Belle {and her boys} - Got milk? -- Breastfeeding can be so complicated and stressful. Especially in the beginning when dealing with a sleeper eater and jaundice.  Kudos to Jessica for putting in the hard work.
  • A Modern Family - Making Skim Milk -- Another breastfeeding post.  I know how much my dear friend L thinks about this and I'm glad she's getting it out there.  She inspired me to keep writing about my own experiences, so be prepared for that post soon (Be warned, it's going to be wordy people!)
  • Hormonal Imbalances - Learning to Let Go -- Sweet Diana has a little girl who is just a month younger than Brennan.  She likes breastfeeding, babywearing, and cloth diapering.  And recently  she found out that she is having twins.  This post hit home because it's very much how I felt when I found out about my twins and the way she has reconciled those feelings is very similar to how I did.  
  • Baby Rabies - Show Me Your End Of The Day Face -- I saw this when Jill posted it on Twitter and said, "Yyyyyyyyes."  It's totally how I feel at the end of the day. 
  • The Paro Post - Tuesday Ten -- I can totally relate to Becca, specifically about numbers 2 and 8.  Dealing with Brennan every day makes me want to go back to work by the time the twins are 2 so that I don't have to deal with two 2 year olds all day, every day.  And yes, potty training goes best when my kid is naked from the waist down.  So that's how we roll these days.
  • The Heir to Blair - The Beauty  of Third-Day Hair -- I rock third-day hair ALL.THE.TIME.  Lately it's been more second day than third day because of working out though.  Exercise + 3rd day hair can get gross.  And please people, don't freak out.  I still shower daily.  Almost always.  


Every book I've read on twins stresses one major point -- schedule, schedule, schedule.  They say that if you don't establish one early and stick to it, you'll never survive.  For the most part, I agree.  Days when both boys nap at the same time, for similar periods of time are so much easier for me.  There's less chaos and more structure and I feel more in control.  But having 2 babies with very different sleep needs and habits makes it hard to accomplish this. 

Many of my days are spent juggling kids and trying to remember who ate last and when.  These days exhaust me.  Emotionally, physically, mentally.  I'm drained.  By the time everyone is in bed at night I feel like I could collapse.  I don't like feeling like I'm chasing my tail all day long.  It's a control freak's recurring nightmare.
But lately as my little boys are getting older and showing more personality (and maybe I'm becoming a bit more sane too ... yeah, probably not) I've begun to take these days in stride.  There is only so much I can do to change how the days go.  So instead of fighting and struggling to get "back on track" I'm learning to let go.  And in that process I'm discovering that these days are a blessing.  They allow me more one-on-one time with each of my boys.

During that precious time when one is awake while his brothers sleep, I learn more about the people they are and I dream about the men they will be.

I've learned that Beckett is slow and methodical in his actions and seems to need permission and encouragement from mom before playing with certain toys or rolling over.  He thinks before he acts, studying and concentrating objects and movements.  And he doesn't like sleep.  That's been very easy to learn.

I've learned that Kiernan is a "do-er".  He's adventurous and energetic and doesn't like to feel like he can't do something.  It seems that if he feels that way, he's bound and determined to prove otherwise.  His emotions are intense.  When he's happy, he's blissful.  When he's upset, he's ragingly angry.  And he loves his sleep.

I haven't learned too much about Brennan that I don't already know.  Instead, I've been able to enjoy seeing him learn and grow and become more independent.  And during our one-on-one times he finds my lap free and takes advantage of the opportunity to just snuggle.  It's something we used to take for granted, but something that is rare these days.

So on those hectic days, I'm learning to let go and instead embrace the time that I get with my boys.  Because I'm blessed to have them in my life and honored to be able to call myself their mom.