Saturday, January 29, 2011

First Solid Foods

Today, Miles and Vivienne tried their first "solid" food.  Well, it wasn't exactly solid, but it was definitely the only non-breast milk food they've ever eaten (besides vitamin drops).

Unfortunately, our timing wasn't great.  While I was mixing the sweet potatoes that I made last night with some breast milk, Miles started fussing.  He was getting tired and cranky earlier than we expected.  So, we went into this little experiment with a fussy baby - not a great idea.  But we were too excited to back out at that point, so we decided to plow ahead and see if he would get with the program.

Of course, he did not.  He was wondering why we weren't getting with his program.  But we had a blast watching them eat their first "solids" anyway.

My Little Sweet Potato Wearing Her Sweet Potatoes

I like this stuff, Daddy!

I hope sweet potatoes are good for my complexion!
Up until about a year old, the majority of their calories will still come from my breast milk.  The baby food that they eat is more like a treat or condiment to the main course, which will still be my milk.  It's fun to see them eat, but I'm a little sad that this is another step away from them needing me.  Oh, the ever continuing process of letting go... 

We'll continue with the sweet potatoes once a day for at least the next 4 days before trying something else.  We think we'll try a green vegetable next.

Making My Own Baby Food

There are two main priorities that I consider when deciding how to do things in our home:
  1. What is best for our babies?
  2. How can I save our family money?
When considering both of these thing, it became clear that I want to make baby food for our babies.  Homemade baby food is definitely cheaper than buying jars at a grocery store.  Moreover, it is nutritionally superior to processed foods, and I can be absolutely certain of what I'm feeding to Miles and Vivienne. 

To get started, I read a couple books on making baby food, including Ruth Yaron's book, Super Baby Food.

First off, this is a gigantic book, almost 600 pages.  When the package came, it felt like a brick.  That was overwhelming.  But you really don't have to read every page to get the necessary information, and it has tons of recipes that you can use up throughout your child's young life.

Basically, to make your own baby food, you cook the vegetable/fruit (bake, steam or boil) and then puree it using a food processor, food grinder or blender.  To save time, you can make large batches and then freeze the food in ice cube trays (which are about 1 oz per cube, perfect portions for babies).  After the food has frozen, store it in large freezer bags. 

When you're ready to serve the food, simply pull out a cube, defrost it (in the refrigerator if you have time or the microwave or hot water bath if you don't have as much time), mix it with breast milk or formula (if you need it to be thinner for younger babies), and serve.  Following this method, it really only takes a couple of hours a week.

My Sweet Potatoes Before Freezing

Last night, I made a huge batch of sweet potatoes.  I bought a bag of sweet potatoes at Aldi, baked them all, pureed them and put them into trays.  Next time, I'm going to find some organic sweet potatoes, because they are one of the dirty dozen

I'm looking forward to cooking lots of homemade fruits and veggies for my sweet Miles and Vivienne.

Running & Walking at Lake Pine

Today was a great day with the babies.  They had their first solids (more on that later).  We took a long nap together - Vivienne in her crib and Miles slept with Mommy and Daddy.  It was at least an hour nap... heaven, just heaven.  Then we went to Lake Pine.  We had never been there before, but we wanted to check it out.  It's a really beautiful little lake nestled in between Cary & Apex, with a 2-mile loop around the lake.

Of course, Jason got up at 6 AM and ran 18 miles averaging a 7:20 pace.  I can never come close to what he does, but I wanted to get in a little run for myself.  So he walked with the babies at the Lake Pine trail while I ran.  I ended up running a full 4 miles, the farthest that I have run since the babies were born (especially without a stroller), and it felt great.

It was really nice to run without two babies and a huge stroller in tow.  My average pace was 9:25 with the last mile at 9:11.  I am really proud of myself, and relieved to discover that I still have a little bit of horsepower (even though it's nothing compared to Jason's Ironruns).

Frozen Breast Milk Stash

In preparation to feed the babies their first solid food today, I started looking at our frozen breast milk stash.  I did a lot of pumping early on to build up my supply, mainly in their first month.  Because our babies don't take bottles, none of this was ever used.  I just put it in milk storage bags and froze it.  I've also pumped a little bit recently as the babies have started sleeping for very long stretches (just to alleviate the fullness).  Now, we can mix all this breast milk with the baby food that I'm making.

In a rough tally, we calculated about 200 ounces of breast milk in our freezer.  Wow!!  Maybe I'll make cheese with it.  (JUST kidding!)

Friday, January 28, 2011

Viv Thinks She's a Dog

Viv thinks she's a dog...

But I know she's really the prettiest baby in the world...

Giggling, Rolling and More Raspberries (Video)

If you haven't had enough... at least we got some really good Miles giggles in this one.

Miles Likes Raspberries

Well, at least Miles likes to blow raspberries (he hasn't had the opportunity to eat them yet).  One of his newest tricks is making a raspberry noise with his tongue and his lips.  Often, this results in a lot of bubbles - major foaming at the mouth.  See for yourself:

Walk in Museum Park

Yesterday, I went for a walk with a group of mommies from the Cary Moms Playgroup at the NC Museum of Art.  They have a Museum Park that includes trails through some of the large outdoor works of art.  About 9 of us got together for the walk, including 12 babies, because there was another twin mom there as well.  We probably walked around 2 miles or so, and it was great fun to chat with the other mommies and enjoy the glorious weather we've been having over the past few days.

Mommies in from of Gyre by Thomas Sayre

Sleep, Glorious Sleep!!

(It's not what you think.  The babies didn't sleep through the entire night.)

Last night, I was pretty tuckered out from the day.  I ran 3.25 miles with the babies on the Greenway that attaches to our subdivision.  Then I went to meet some other local mommies to walk the art trail at the NC Museum of Art (more about that later).  So, all in all, I'm sure I did at least 5 miles of walking/running yesterday.  Apparently, that took its toll on my body, because I went to bed at 7 PM.  I fed the babies, and then I just turned out the light and went to sleep.  Jason brought up my phone and a fresh bottle of water for me (thank you, sweetie!!) while I snoozed.

Miles woke back up again around 8:30 just crying his eyes out.  This is extremely unusual.  He hasn't done that in probably about 2 months or so, so it was really surprising.  I fed him again, and then the babies and I went back to sleep again.

The babies ate around 3 AM, and then they slept until 7.  I pulled Miles into bed with us and nursed him back to sleep (and fell back asleep myself).  We didn't get out of bed until 8.  It was awesome.

So, all in all, I would guess that I got at least 11 hours of sleep last night - probably closer to 12 hours, but it's hard to calculate accurately with the interruptions from my precious babies.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Miles is a Crackup

Yesterday, Miles and Vivienne were lying on the play mat, and I was in the next room checking emails.  I heard Vivienne giggling her little head off, and I had to come into the family room to find out what was so funny.  Miles was lying right beside her.  He would wiggle around a bit and then look her in the eye.  Each time he looked at her, she just giggled the sweetest baby giggle.  Who knew the little guy could be so funny?  =)  I got some video.  Sorry about the angle, but I was worried that they would stop if they saw me and the camera.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Miles' First Time in a High Chair

Wednesdays are one of my favorite days of the week.  Our highlight on Wednesdays is that we get to have lunch with some of our favorite people, Kristi and her awesome kids, Kylie, Caleb and Darcy.  We usually meet at Chick-fil-A or some other fast food place with a playground where the kids can burn off some energy while we chat.

Today, Miles sat in a high chair at a restaurant for the first time.  He only lasted about 5 minutes, but it was still neat to see him in it.  He's not yet big or strong enough to really sit in a high chair well.  Someday, this will be his regular seat during meals.  Hard to imagine!

Not a great picture, but at least I got something.  =)

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

6 Month Pediatrician Appointment

Today, we took Miles and Vivienne to their six month pediatrician's appointment.  We were really scrambling this morning to take showers, eat breakfast and get there in time, but we made it.

Everything looks really good.  Miles stats are:

  • 17 lb 3 oz (41st percentile)
  • 27 inches long (67th percentile)
  • 17.25 inch head circumference (49th percentile).
Vivienne's stats are:

  • 15 lb 2 oz (29th percentile)
  • 25.25 inches long (28th percentile)
  • 16.75 inch head circumference (50th percentile)
Overall, they are growing very well and are happy, healthy babies.  The doctor did notice that they have "low tone," as she called it.  She didn't seem terribly concerned about this, but she said that they may do some of the bigger motor developments at a slower pace than some other babies.  She seemed to indicate that some babies just have lower tone than others.  Between their daddy's perfect tone from all the swimming and Ironmans and my ridiculously muscular calves (though the rest of me isn't very toned anymore), I'm not terribly worried about their tone in the long run.  =)

The pediatrician also tested their reflexes with a little hammer.  It was cute to see their little baby legs and arms move after she tapped them.

They also got a few vaccinations today.  Neither Miles nor Vivienne enjoyed the shots very much.  They were already starting to get a bit cranky because the appointment is during the time of their usual morning nap.  And when they got those shots, they really started crying.  Miles started crying so hard that he didn't breathe for a few moments.  Both the nurse and I said, "Breathe!!"  Poor little guy.  But they got their cute little band-aids and seemed to recover rather quickly.  We came home and took good, long naps.  Nothing is better than a nap with my sweet baby and her favorite kitty.

Vivienne and Chloe Nap Together
Nothing sweeter than a sleeping baby.

Monday, January 24, 2011

First Playdate at Our Place

Miles and Vivienne (with a little help from me) hosted their first playdate at our house today.  We have joined a great mommy group on  It has been a great way to connect to other mommies and babies that are the same age as Miles and Vivienne.  Though the babies don't interact a whole lot yet, they still seem to really enjoy each other's company.  And we moms certainly enjoy each other's company and some great conversation.  =)  I won't print all of our friends' names, because I'm not sure how comfortable they would be with that yet.  Here is a sampling of all the little cuties who were here today:

Mommy and Vivienne

She stood on her own for the very first time when they were here today!

This little guy is always happy.

This little friend is crawling all over the place now.  He helped us start our baby-proofing today.  =)

He has the cutest face.  And Mom is so sweet and down to earth.

These beautiful ladies are always fun.  I can't believe how big this little girl is already!

Wow.  She's really cute, Mom!

I think I might have a new girlfriend!

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Don't Forget the Cover!

Ironically, I wrote a post about cloth diapering yesterday.  Today, I got up and changed both babies' diapers while my husband was out on a run.  (Jason got up at 6 am to run 16 miles.  I would have joined him, but I was willing to take the sacrifice of sleeping in to stay with the babies.) 

As I was taking Miles up for his first nap, I thought his bum felt slightly damp underneath his footed sleeper.  I thought I must be imagining things, because I had just changed his diaper.  When Miles woke up from his nap, Jason was home and he went in to pick him up out of the crib.  Jason mentioned to me that Miles' bum felt a bit damp.  When he opened the sleeper to change the diaper, he figured out why...

I had forgotten to put a cover over Miles' diaper.  I guess I should have read my own cloth diapering post more carefully!

Washing Cloth Diapers

So far, washing cloth diapers has really not been very difficult.  First things first.  We needed two diaper pails - one to keep downstairs (where we spend most of our time) and one for upstairs in the nursery (for nighttime changes).  I bought simple plastic trashcans from Walmart with lids.  I got our  pail liners from Amazon - Kissa's Antibacterial Pail Liners.  They are basically just large, waterproof trash can liners.

These pail liners have worked very well.  When I put the diapers in the wash, I just dump them in the washing machine, turning the pail liner inside out, and wash the liner right along with the diapers.  I also dry them in the dryer with the diapers.  My only complaint about these is that the seams in the bottom were not sewn properly.  After the first couple of washes, the seams came unraveled.  Luckily, my mom was visiting and she fixed them for me.  (Thanks, Mom!)  They were cheap ($15 for 2 liners), so I guess I can't really complain.

When I'm out with the babies, I need something to hold the dirty diapers until I get home.  I use Kushies Wet Bags that I also purchased at Amazon.  When we have a dirty diaper on the road, I put it in the wet bag and pull the drawstring.  It's waterproof and air-proof enough that I've never had any kind of odor problem.  When I get home, I turn this inside out into the diaper pail liner and wash it along with the diapers.

At home, when I change one of the babies' diapers, I just throw the diaper and the cover into the lined trash can.  The babies are currently exclusively breastfed, so their poop is yellow, seedy breastfeeding poop.  Believe it or not, you don't have to clean the poop off before you put them in the trash can.  I remember being very nervous about this, worrying that the pail was going to really stink.  It only smells after a couple days right before we wash the diapers.

To wash the diapers, I bought some Charlie's Soap on eBay.  I bought a 5-gallon bucket, which is enormous!  It's supposed to wash something like 1280 loads, so we should never have to buy detergent again for the rest of our lives.  =)  (But it was a great cost per load, so it was the most economical choice in the long run.)  Charlie's Soap seems to be the most popular diaper soap that I could find online for washing cloth diapers.  I read lots of great reviews for it.  It's hypoallergenic, dye-free, fragrance-free and environmentally friendly.  (Instead of scooping it directly from the ginormous bucket, I scoop it from an old oatmeal container.  It's easier to manage and I spill less of the soap in the process.  I only refill the oatmeal container from the large bucket every few weeks.)  We also use the Charlie's Soap for all of our regular laundry, and I really like it.  It's supposed to be great for sensitive skin.

We wash the diapers every two days, usually in the morning.  You probably wouldn't want to go more than 2 days, because the trash cans would start to have an odor.  On wash day, I turn the pail liners inside out into the washing machine.  First, I do a rinse/soak cycle with cold water.  This cycle is important because you want to use cold water to rinse away the poo (I think warm or hot water will actually set the stains).  Next, I add the Charlie's Soap and do a hot wash.  The hot wash is also important because the hot water helps to disinfect the diapers.  Finally, we do an additional cold rinse (in addition to the cold rinse that automatically happens after the hot wash) to be sure that the soap is completely rinsed away.

I dry the diaper covers and wet bags on a dry rack, and I put the cotton prefolds, cloth wipes and pail lines in the clothes dryer.  The covers usually only take a few hours to air dry.  The prefolds take a long drying cycle to get completely dry.  The heat of the dryer also helps to disinfect the prefolds.  This summer, I would like to try to dry some of our diapers outside in the sun.  I'm not sure whether we'll actually make that happen or not, but I would like to try it.  I hear that the sun is an excellent disinfectant and it helps to remove stains.

So the only real work involved in cloth diapering for us is an extra load of laundry every 2 days.  I would definitely say that it's worth the reduced impact on the environment and on our budget.  (Though our water bill and our electricity bill are higher than they used to be, I still think that cloth diapering, especially using prefolds, is much less expensive than buying disposable diapers.)

As the babies start eating solid foods, we'll be installing a diaper sprayer.  And I hear that the poo gets much more "interesting."  I'll keep you updated.  ;-)

Friday, January 21, 2011

Cloth Diapering Twins

Miles and Vivienne are 6 months old now, and I love cloth diapering my twins.  Not only is it more economic, but it's also more environmentally friendly.

We have managed to cloth diaper them since they were about a month old.  We initially started with disposables, just to make life a little less stressful in the beginning.  Looking back, I really think we could have switched to cloth sooner, because it really doesn't add that much complexity to our lives.

We wanted to make cloth diapering as inexpensive as possible, so we just use the basics here - no fancy all-in-one diapers (though I admit it is so tempting to try them).  In the beginning, I bought a set of newborn prefolds.  Prefolds are basically just old school rectangular diapers that are made from cotton.  (You can get them made from other more interesting materials, but we stick with 100% cotton.)  To learn more about prefolds, check out this website.

After I fold the prefolds around the babies, I need something to hold them in place (especially when they were teeny tiny), so I use Snappis diaper fasteners.  They are easier than diaper pins, and I don't have to worry about poking the babies with a pin.  You can use a prefold without a Snappi, but I always feel like the Snappis give us a tighter fit and help to contain the breastfeeding poop a bit better.

The prefolds themselves are not waterproof, of course.  They's just plain cotton, so they soak up the pee and hold it there, so you need a waterproof cover of some type to go over the prefold and keep your baby's clothes (and your clothes and everything else) from getting wet.  There are a million different types of diaper covers that you can buy to cover prefolds.  I bought a set of covers from a local work-at-home mom, Malia.  Her company is called Bumbledoo, and she makes some really cute products and truly cares about her clients.  I highly recommend checking out her store.

I also bought some Bummis Whisper Wraps from Craiglist and eBay.  Craigslist and eBay are a great way to save money on all kinds of baby stuff, but especially on cloth diapers.  We also have a handful of Proraps, and I like those a lot for our little girl.  And, of course, we use our Bumbledoo covers as well.  I use all of these on a daily basis and I like them all.  They all have either adjustable velcro or snaps that allow us to tailor the size for our babies as they grow.

Now, we've bought larger prefolds as the babies have grown.  We have to experiment with the different sizes to figure out which ones fit which baby best at their different stages of growth.  I've ordered from and from Green Mountain Diapers.  I've really liked both online stores.

There are so many different kinds of diapers out there - prefolds with covers, all-in-twos, all-in-ones, contours, and more.  I remember being a little frustrated at first, because I didn't understand all the differences and I just wanted someone to tell me what the optimal diaper is (the engineer in me assumes that there must always be an optimal solution to every problem).  The truth is, each type of diapers has a different level of cost and convenience.  Prefolds, for example, are arguably the least convenient but also the least expensive way to diaper.  All-in-ones are generally considered the most convenient but also the most expensive way to diaper.  I recommend that you buy a few different kinds of diapers and try them out so that you can be sure of which type of diaper is the best fit for you.  (Craigslist is a great way to sample different kinds of diapers and wraps.)  We ultimately decided that cost was more important than convenience, and I don't consider prefolds to be all that inconvenient, personally.

I hope someone finds this post helpful.  I've gotten a lot of questions about how we cloth diaper twins.  It's really not difficult at all.  I enjoy washing my little babies' diapers and feeling like I'm helping to preserve this gorgeous planet that God has given us.

I'm going to write another post later about how we wash our diapers.  Right now, I think I have two babies upstairs who have woken up from their nap and are ready to play with Mommy!

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Happy Half Birthday!

Six months ago today, Miles and Vivienne were born.  (I was going to say that they joined our lives, but they had been in our lives for nine months before they were born.)  I remember the first time I saw each of their beautiful, tiny faces and held them for the first time.  I remember Vivienne's angelic little face and gorgeous eyes.  I remember Miles lying in the isolette with an IV in his hand and his little chest moving up and down, seeming to struggle with each tiny breath.

In the first months, some of the days seemed to crawl by, but now, 6 months later, it's hard to remember how we got here.  Miles is such a strong little guy.  He still kicks with the same fervor that he displayed in utero.  Besides a strong body, he also has a strong will.  Vivienne still has the same enchanting face of an angel.  She has the most charming smile and the sweetest disposition.  Besides my wonderful husband, these gorgeous babies are the most precious blessings of my life.  I am so honored to be their mother.

The first six months have been incredible, and I can't wait to spend my next years watching my son and daughter grow and learn. 

Miles and Vivienne, happy half birthday!  We love you to pieces.

Monday, January 17, 2011

Funny Sneezes

Vivienne thinks it's funny when she sneezes.  She will sneeze her little baby sneeze and then she'll smile and sometimes she'll even giggle a little bit.  It's ridiculously adorable.

And sometimes she sneezes out of both ends.  Also adorable.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Miles of Cuteness

If only he were more expressive...

Miles LOVES the little wheels on his exersaucer.  He could play with those all day.

NC Museum of Art

We had a great weekend with Miles and Vivienne.  This was their last weekend as 5-month-olds.  I can't believe that they will be SIX months old on Tuesday.  The time has flown by.  It seems like we just brought them home yesterday.

Saturday afternoon, we took the babies to the North Carolina Museum of Art.  It was a fun way to get out of the house together, spend time with my wonderful husband and pretend that we are "refined" people.  =)

The museum was much better than we expected it to be.  Admission is free, and they had lots of really beautiful works of art.  There was a special exhibit called "Fins and Feathers:  Original Children's Book Illustrations from The Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art."  Eric Carle is a famous creator of children's books.  Some of his more famous books are The Very Hungry Caterpillar and Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See?  The exhibit was very small, but it was a lot of fun to take Miles and Vivienne to an exhibit of art that was designed for very young children.  We have read Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See? to them frequently before bedtime.

We weren't allowed to take photos in the special exhibit, but we were allowed to take pictures in the permanent collections. 

I don't even remember what this was, but it was a woman surrounded by cherubs, so it just seemed appropriate.  (Notice one of my cherubs snoozing in the Moby wrap.)

Good to see that generations before us appreciated the beauty of breastfeeding.

The museum also has trails and outdoor art, but we weren't able to venture out in the cold with the babies.  We'll have to visit again when the weather is a bit warmer.  It will be fun to watch them toddle around out there someday soon!

Friday, January 14, 2011

Baby Photoshoot (Video)

This video is from our Christmas in Georgia.  All the grown-ups were trying to get the babies (Miles, Vivienne, and their cousin, Elizabeth) to smile for some pictures.  I had to take a little video just for the entertainment value.  Elizabeth is so cute in the end.

Sleeping Through the Night (For REAL)

Ok.  Last night, Vivienne slept from 6:47 PM to 7:15 AM.  She slept through the entire night without needing to be fed.  It was glorious!!

The only problem was the Miles wanted to eat around 2:30 AM. 

Darn twins.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Breastfeeding Rocks

This is too cute not to share.  You go, little man.  You go.

Twin Moms, You Can Do This!

I have had a difficult time balancing the positives and the negatives when speaking with expecting moms of twins.  On the one hand, I want to give them encouragement about all the wonderful aspects of being a twin mom.  On the other hand, I want to prepare them for the challenge ahead and let them know that they shouldn't feel like the "odd woman out" if the road is rocky at first.

When I was pregnant, I ran into a lot of naysayers.  I also had many people who were encouraging, but it was the naysayers who really gave me a lot of anxiety.  They would tell me things like,"Life, as you know it, is over" (said with a very pessimistic tone of voice) and "you won't be able to breastfeed twins."  Strangers would say things like,"Twins?  Wow - glad it's you and not me."  "Good luck with that." 

I understand that we want to prepare new moms for the challenges of motherhood, but I think it's inappropriate to say these things without telling expecting mommies that they will love their babies more than they knew possible, that their lives will have more depth and meaning that they could ever imagine and that motherhood is the most wonderful gift.  

Don't get me wrong - there were plenty of days where I was crying, holding a screaming baby and praying that Jason's car would turn the corner onto our street. But I haven't had one of those days for months and months now.  Even on those days, in those teary moments, I would have told you that I would never trade this experience for anything in the world.

So if you find yourself in tears after your babies are born, know that you're not a bad mom.  Every mom has had those moments.  (I have had many, many of those moments.)  Don't think that every other mom has rainbows and sunshine at their immaculate house with their hair perfectly coiffed as they pull a hot meal out of the oven and have two happy smiling 2-week-old twins.  That's just not realistic.  

Twin mommies, you are BLESSED.  You are doubly blessed.  Surround yourselves by people who encourage you and remind you of what an incredible adventure this is and what an amazing mother you are.  Remember that the work that you are doing is extremely important.  You're saving the world one TWO babies at a time.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Snuggle Puppy

Last night, we got hit with an ice storm, so SAS delayed opening until 1 PM and closed at 5 PM.  Jason decided to work from home.  The babies and I were very excited.  Miles got to spend some time helping Daddy fix some bugs:

Daddy couldn't do it without me.

Here are some close-ups that I took of my angels yesterday:

Sweet Baby Girl

I can never fit this thing in my mouth!

I love this picture of my little man.
This afternoon, both babies took some good naps.  Vivienne actually fell asleep in the Maya ring sling.  She hasn't snuggled up with me for a nap in a long time.  The babies used to do this every day when they were younger, but now they usually nap in their cribs.  I would love to have more moments like this with my little Snuggle Puppy.  She slept like this for at least an hour.

Me and My Snuggle Puppy

Monday, January 10, 2011

Toddler Radio

I'm not afraid to admit it.  I've started listening to Toddler Radio on Pandora.  I've found that I need a little background music when I'm home and trying to entertain these two babies all day.  This station is a great combination of Mommy/Daddy music (Train, Bob Marley, Straight No Chaser) and kid music (Raffi, The Wiggles, The Muppets, etc).  Maybe it's because I'm a new mom, but I really don't find the kid music all that annoying yet.  I guess the good thing about Pandora is that it mixes it up, so it's not like I'm listening to same CD over and over and over in the car (which I'm sure I will be doing in a few short years).

Before the babies were born, Jason hooked us up with some surround sound speakers and a receiver that I can plug my iPhone into.  It's been fun to sing to the babies, learn new songs and shake my groove thing a little bit each day.  Good thing the babies aren't old enough to be embarrassed of me yet.  =)

Miles of Sleep

So Miles fell asleep last "night" at 4:30 PM.  I thought I was taking a nap with him, but he just never woke up.  He woke up around 10:30 when we were brushing our teeth, because we were too loud (and he was sleeping in our bed).  We put him in his crib, and they slept until around 4:30 AM.  We fed them, and then they slept until 8 AM.  So Miles slept 15.5 hours last night alone, not to mention the naps he took today. 

I think he might be having a growth spurt or something.

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Weekend Excitement

Weekends have been completely redefined now.  Before the babies, we would often go on runs and hikes, go for weekend excursions or take on some home improvement project.  Now, our weekends involve playing on a blanket on the floor, changing diapers, laughing with Miles and Vivienne, watching Vivienne learn to use the jumperoo (her legs are like little springs!), changing diapers, wiping spit-up (we do this quite often), singing silly songs, changing diapers... but somehow this is a much, much more fulfilling life than our previous adventures. 

Here are some pics from this weekend.

Gorgeous Blue Eyes
She has the sweetest smile.
It's great to wake up to these smiling faces.
Daddy reads her a bedtime story.
This afternoon, Miles was extremely fussy, and we had a hard time getting him to calm down.  Usually, when he fusses, I can feed him and he'll immediately calm down.  Well, this time he ate like usual, but then started crying as soon as he was finished.  We tried putting him down in his crib, but he was having none of that.  So I laid down in bed with him and nursed him to sleep around 4:30.  We both fell asleep and had a great hour-long nap snuggling together.  Then I woke up and realized that I was going to have a hard time sneaking away from him, because he was leaning against me and using me as a sort of body pillow.  If I moved, he would roll over onto his tummy, which would probably wake him up. 

Eventually, I figured a way to get untangled from him, and he just continued to sleep right through bedtime.  We're hoping that he doesn't wake up tomorrow morning at 5 am bright-eyed and bushy tailed (because Mommy and Daddy certainly won't be!).  We went up to check on him tonight, and Chloe is curled up right next to him.  It's the sweetest thing.  We turned on the bathroom light and took a long exposure to get this photo:

Chloe has found herself a new nap-mate.  =)

Monday, January 3, 2011

Weekend Walk

On New Year's Eve, the weather here was fantastic and we eagerly took the opportunity to take a little walk as a family.  We haven't been able to do that much lately because of the cold.  This was the first time that I had put Miles in the Moby facing outward.  Jason said that he loved it.  It was hard for me to tell, because I couldn't see his precious little face (since he was facing away from me).

Daddy and Sleeping Vivienne

She was clearly very excited about this walk.

Miles looks cute as ever facing out.  You can really tell how tired he was.  His little eyes were so red.  =(

Do Twins Run In Your Family?

I get asked this all the time.  As a matter of fact, they do.  They run very, very slowly apparently.

Before having babies, I was a fairly frequent runner.  When we lived in California, I ran almost every day.  On Saturdays, I would run up to 11 miles (usually at least 8 miles) at the peak of my running "career."  (I use the word "career" here with a lot of liberty.)  I ran a couple of half marathons with my best time being just over a 9-minute mile pace for the entire 13.1 miles.  For me, this was a huge accomplishment, considering that I used to think that people who ran "for fun" were masochists.

I stopped running when I was around 4 months pregnant.  I had started to get considerably larger, and the weather was really heating up here in North Carolina as summer approached.  I transitioned to taking a long walk (around 4 miles), which seemed much more manageable for my doubly pregnant body.  Eventually, my OB suggested that I walk no more than a mile a day - ONE MILE a day.  I found that really depressing, but by the time I was about 7 months pregnant I didn't even want to walk from my car to the grocery store door (more less all the walking you have to do inside the grocery store).

After having the babies, my little trio has done a ton of walking together.  Miles, Vivienne and I got a lot of mileage out of both our Snap n Go and, more recently, our Bob stroller.

The Bob stroller website recommends that you wait until your babies are EIGHT months old before you run with them.  I assume that they are just saying that for liability purposes, so I asked our doc.  Our pediatrician suggested that we wait until the babies are about 6 months to take them for a run, because he wanted to be sure that they have good head and neck control.  Well, they aren't 6 months old yet, but I think they have great head and neck control.

During our Christmas vacation, I ran a couple times (for the first time since I was pregnant) with Jason while my parents watched the babies for us. (Thank you, Mom and Dad!)  Needless to say, my legs were extremely sore on the days after those runs. 

Today, I decided to finally take Miles and Vivienne for a real run in the Bob with the weather shield.  At first, I was worried that they would feel claustrophobic behind the shield, but they didn't even seem to notice that they were in their own little bubble.  It was in the high 40s today, but the weather shield kept them nice and toasty (as did their ridiculously cute fleece-lined matching bear trapper hats).

Smiling Behind the Weather Shield
Miles and Vivienne slept through our entire run.  We went 3.22 miles according to the GPS.  My average pace was about 11.5 minutes per mile, which is honestly just depressing.  I did walk in the beginning to warm up and walked after the biggest hill, but I would still hope that my average pace would be higher than 11:30.

I will say that running a double stroller up a hill is no easy task.  I think my legs definitely get a better workout when Miles and Vivienne are there to "help" me.

It feels so nice to run again.  It's liberating to know that I can run with the babies now.  I really enjoyed getting out in the brisk air and taking a little time for myself.  I got to stretch my legs, say hello to my wonderful neighbors, soak up the natural beauty of North Carolina and enjoy a little This American Life.  I'm already looking forward to our run tomorrow.

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Good Sleep

We've been getting much better sleep with the babies lately.  At the very beginning, they only slept for about 2 hour stretches.  By around 4 months, this had gradually stretched out so that they were sleeping for 6 hour stretches or longer.  Then, Miles started waking more frequently - back to around 3 hour stretches.  Jason and I were exhausted again.  We couldn't really figure out what made him start to wake up again.  "They" (whoever "they" are) say that they start to wake more frequently at developmental milestones, when they start teething, etc.  But we never could figure out the cause.

While we were at my parents' house, they started sleeping very well again.  They usually go to sleep around 6:30 PM.  They (usually Miles) wake up to eat anywhere between 3 and 5 am, and then usually sleep through to around 8 AM.  Of course, there is slight variation in this pattern, but this is generally what our nights look like now.  It is so nice to be back to single feeding nights.

At my parents' house, they also started taking very good naps.  When they were younger, they would often have their daytime naps in their bouncy seats or nap on us while we slept with them in the recliner.  Just over the past month or so, I've been putting them down in their cribs for their naps.  Actually, I put Miles in his crib in the nursery and put Vivienne in the pack 'n play in our room so that whoever wakes up first doesn't wake the other one up with their crying.

At first, they did not nap well in their cribs at all.  They were gradually getting better, and then in Georgia, Miles napped for about 4 hours one day.  I was shocked!  Since we've gotten home, they have been napping well in their cribs.

We started letting them cry a bit more over the past few weeks - not exactly "crying it out", but letting them cry for a few minutes before we go in to comfort them or feed them.  But usually if they cry for any more than 15 minutes, I will go ahead and feed them.  We were worried that we might be teaching them that they can cry any time, and we will come running to feed them, but they seem to be learning to soothe themselves well.  Miles and Vivienne both suck their thumbs, which I've found to be very helpful.  They can soothe themselves with their thumbs, and it's also a very clear indicator to me that it's nap time when I see them popping their thumbs in their mouths.

We don't do any particular kind of sleep training.  I just try to listen to what the babies need.  Sometimes it's very difficult to figure out what they need, but usually they will tell us if we focus on their cues.  I think we honestly just lucked out with good sleepers.

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Our Christmas Angels

Just when you thought I couldn't possibly post another Christmas picture...

We just had to take a couple pictures today of the babies together in their little Christmas outfits from Aunt Mary and Uncle Brian.  I promise not to post any more Christmas pictures after this.  =)

May everyone have a wonderful 2011!  We can't wait to see what God has in store for the Fox Four next year!

The Long Road Home

Well, the road to Grandma's house was easy, but the road home was a bit longer.  We left Georgia around 2 PM, just like we did on the way down to Georgia.  Things went smoothly (babies slept solidly) through Atlanta and until we got to Greenville, SC.  Then we hit rush hour traffic... and an "incident."  There was some sort of accident right outside the downtown area.  We basically came to a stand-still for at least 20 minutes.  Then the babies (both of them) woke up and started crying while we were just sitting there.  I thought I could just pull my hair out.  I find it hard to sit behind the wheel while my babies are crying and I can't go anywhere.  We were stuck in the left-hand lane of 85, so there was no way to exit.

After we finally passed the wreck, we were able to push on to Gaffney to the same Chick-fil-a that we stopped at on the way down to Georgia.  We fed the babies, changed their diapers, and fed ourselves.  We got home around 10 PM.  There was still a little bit of snow on the ground, but not much left.  While we were away for Christmas, Cary got about 6 or 7 inches of snow dumped on it.  We got maybe an inch of snow in Georgia, but it quickly melted away.  Hopefully we'll catch the next white Christmas in Cary.

After Christmas

We spent the next few days after Christmas enjoying time with family and friends.  My good friend from elementary and high school, Rusti, came by to visit.  She is pregnant with her first child.  It was so fun to see her and her growing belly.  This time next year, she will be celebrating her first Christmas with her baby!

There were lots of laughs and squeals while we were trying to get the babies to pose for our photos.  I wish we had a video camera of all the adults actually trying to get the babies to smile.  We sounded like a flock of crazy birds or something - lots of cooing, squealing and baby talk.

We had a few "firsts" this trip - first shoes for Miles (from Grandma - they matched one of his new cute little outfits) and first time in a high chair for Miles and Viv.

Obligatory family photo with baby hats

Viv's first time in a high chair

I like my first shoes!

I think he knows that he has an infectious smile.

Rusti and Me

Cute Cousins

Our Adorable Trio

Outtake 1 - I'm losing my hat!  Elizabeth thinks it's funny.  Vivienne is just confused.

Outtake 2 - This is scary!  Why is Elizabeth always smiling?  Where did Viv go?

Outtake 3 - I eat your arm!  Elizabeth is finally bored.  Viv is amazed by her hands.

Rusti will be holding her own baby boy next year!

Elizabeth makes a mighty cute elf.

Babies, Babies Everywhere!

I may be the happiest baby ever.

Mommy and Vivienne

Elizabeth and her Daddy