Saturday, July 30, 2011

First Haircut

Last night, we had our first baby haircut.  Ok, well, it wasn't really a full blown haircut, but at least it was a bang trim.  His bangs were starting to hang down into his eyes, so something had to be done. 

So I suppose this is really just our first baby bang trim.  Maybe someday soon I'll get bold enough to try to trim the hair around his ears.  =)  I cut Jason's hair, so I think I can cut Miles' hair, but I'm nervous about hurting him with the scissors.

People always comment about what a great head of hair Miles has.  It makes him look like a little man instead of a baby.  I have to admit that I love it.  I'm not a fan of long hair on guys, but I'm hesitant to cut his baby locks short.


The babies finally liked something that I cooked - baked spaghetti.  Success!!

You know it's good when they use both hands.

"A round of applause for spaghetti!!"

"Miles, you are SOOOOO embarrassing."


Friday, July 29, 2011

Sweet Tomatoes

Today is HOT.  I think it's over 100 degrees.  After feeding the babies their breakfast, we went for a 4-mile run before the sun really started scorching.  Then the babies took their nap and we headed out for Sweet Tomatoes to meet 6 other moms and their babies.  Needless to say, we used nearly every single high chair in the place.

Sweet Tomatoes is exactly the same as Souplantation in Los Angeles.  It is a great place to take little ones to try lots of different things.  I tried giving them peas, kidney beans, rice, jello, blueberry muffins (definitely a hit), pizza sticks, and frozen yogurt, among other things.  Kids under 2 eat free.  After Miles and Vivienne finished eating, I spent some time on my hands and knees cleaning up underneath their high chairs.

Here is their plate of "leftovers" from the floor:

They look so proud.  I hope that they at least got some food in their STOMACHS.

(Thanks, Elise, for the excellent photography.  You really captured the essence of their trash plate beautifully.)

Thursday, July 28, 2011

World's Best Job

I am often asked if I miss working.  I am lucky to be able to answer that question with an emphatic "No." 

Before I had Miles and Vivienne, I had a job that involved a lot of travel and some times of pretty intense work.  I didn't hate my job, but I didn't exactly love it, and I certainly didn't enjoy having to travel so frequently.

I got tired of spending so much energy on something that I didn't really have a strong passion for, and I feel like I am now spending all of my time focusing on something that matters to me more than anything - my children.  I cannot think of a more worthwhile way to spend my time.  These days are still challenging and tiring, but they are also incredibly fulfilling and rewarding.  I love seeing my babies learning new skills, interacting with each other and other children, flipping through the pages of books and chasing the cats around the house.  Even when I'm hanging their diapers out to dry or washing their high chair trays for the millionth time, I wouldn't trade a minute of it.

I remember after the babies were born, I thought that Jason had it so easy to be able to go to work, talk to adults, eat lunch at a regular pace, use the restroom with the door closed (oh, the freedom!), work out every day and drive home in silence if he wanted to.  I remember thinking that my job (staying at home with newborn twins) was much more difficult than his at that point, but a time would eventually come when my job would be easier and more fun.  I think we got to that point somewhere around 4 or 5 months.  But even in the days when I would cry from the stress and watch out the front window for his car to turn the corner, I wouldn't have traded a moment of it for the world.

Now, my days are full of smiles and tears and diapers and stroller jogging and games of "follow the ball" and and bumps and bruises and playdates and the Farmer's Market and poop and spit-up (yes, we still have the occasional spit-up) and "Miles, don't take your sister's sippy cup" and "Vivienne, please don't take off your diaper" and though I sometimes feel like I've been hit by a train and could nap for 4 hours, I LOVE EVERY MINUTE OF IT.

So, no.  I don't miss my old job.  Thanks for asking.  =)

Snuggle Bug

Usually, Miles and Vivienne put their thumbs in their mouths only when we lay them down for a nap or to go to bed.  Over the past couple of weeks, Miles has started sucking his thumb a little bit more often during the day.  He'll crawl over to me, curl up in my lap and stick his thumb in his mouth.  He'll usually only sit there for a minute or so, but I have to say that I love having some snuggle time with my little man.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Little Crawlers

I keep finding myself saying,"I like this stage the best!" no matter what stage my babies are in.  I really must say that I love the stage that we're in now.  Both Miles and Vivienne are crawling, and it is so fascinating to watch them learning about their ever-expanding world.

Miles started crawling first, and he can move much more quickly than little Vivienne.  She follows him around the house like a little puppy.  She always wants to see where he's going and what he is going to do.  Every now and then, though, she will break away and explore something new on her own.

They both love bouncing their little hard balls on the hardwood floor.  Miles will hold one above his head and drop it on the floor and watch it bounce and roll away.  Then both babies will crawl after the ball.  Whoever gets to it first will celebrate their victory and then bounce the ball again and the game continues.  I could watch them do this for hours.

After our run yesterday, I let them explore the upstairs (thanks to our newly installed top of stairs gate).  I really enjoyed watching them crawl around this new territory, practice opening and closing the doors, and pulling themselves up on the baby gate. 

A couple of nights ago, Jason was crawling behind Miles, acting like he was going to catch him.  Miles clearly recognized that Daddy was chasing him.  He laughed and crawled just as fast as his little arms and legs could carry him.  He was so excited - squealing and giggling and moving with so much effort that he got out of breath and had sweat in his hair.  I would pick him up and "save" him and then he would crawl back to start the chase with Daddy again.  It's times like these that I just want the clock to freeze so that I could live these moments over and over. 

12 Month Pediatrician Appointment

Yesterday morning, we took Miles and Vivienne for their 1-year pediatrician appointment.  It was a long morning for all of us.  The appointment was at 9 am, which is just about the time that the babies usually go down for their morning nap.  The pediatrician was running a bit behind, so we had to wait for quite a while in the exam room.  The babies ran out of patience and began to get very tired and fussy.  I felt so bad that we couldn't really do anything to soothe them.  I actually tried nursing them at the same time in those hard plastic chairs (because when I tried feeding one of them, the other one would cry), but it just didn't work.  They also got another set of shots, which is never fun.  But we all made it through and came home to take almost a 3-hour nap (including a 2 hour nap for Mommy - whoohoo!).

Here are the latest stats on Miles:

  • Height:  29.75 inches (51st percentile)
  • Weight:  21 lb 14.5 oz (37th percentile)
  • Head Circumference:  18 5/8 inches (76th percentile)
And Vivienne:
  • Height:  27.75 inches (13th percentile)
  • Weight:  17 lb 14 oz (7th percentile)
  • Head Circumference:  17.75 inches (52nd percentile)
The only thing they said to work on was Vivienne's growth.  The pediatrician said that we should do what we can to get more calories into Vivienne.  We tried giving her some whole milk with dinner in her sippy cup, but she didn't drink much of it.  She is still breastfeeding, so she may not like the taste of cow's milk just yet (nothing compares to Mommy!).  =)

All in all, it was a good report.  Our next appointment will be at 15 months.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

I Wanna Be Like Daddy

Seriously, he just can't get enough of Daddy's book.

I'm hoping to start running with the babies in the morning before their first nap.  It has been too hot to run with them in the afternoon.  I tried it yesterday and it worked well.  Today it was "cool" enough to run with them around 4 o'clock.  I think I'll try the morning run again tomorrow and see how it goes.

First Birthday

Miles and Vivienne's first birthday was very low key.  We mostly hung around the house and just spent time with the grandparents.  Lila and Keith had driven down from Indiana, and my parents drove up from Georgia to be here on their special day.  (My parents couldn't be here for the party because of my father's recent surgery.)  The babies unwrapped their gifts from friends and family, and they enjoyed all of the attention from the doting grandparents.

Birthday Visit with Grandma and Grandpa

Miles and Vivienne's birthday week was wonderful.  Jason's parents, Lila & Kieth (aka Grandma and Grandpa) drove down from Indiana to visit for about a week.  It was great to see them, and it was extra fun that they were here the very first time that Vivienne crawled (the morning of July 16th) and the first time the babies used a straw.  We tried to stay cool, despite the crazy heat, and visited the Farmer's Market and spent time in the pool.  They were so kind and babysat for me while I went running and while I went out with my friend, Jenny, for lunch. Thanks for visiting us, Grandma & Grandpa!

Vivienne tried on her first pair of Crocs.

Miles' hair is getting out of control.

"Daddy, you're so fun to swim with!"

"Grandpa reads such good bedtime stories!"

Grandma helps Miles suck from a straw.

Monday, July 25, 2011

Installing a Baby Gate Without Drilling Into the Banister (Tutorial)

See a video here:

If you like posts like this, check out my new She Fixes blog at  Lots of tutorials on the things that I love… fixing stuff and tips and tricks that have worked well for us around the house.  :)

UPDATE:  Our twins are almost 4 years old, and this gate is still going strong (and with the addition of a third child as well).  So, this has stood the test of time... or at least the test of 3 years.

Now that our twins are crawling, we have become past due to install our baby gates.  Over the past week, we finally decided to go for it.  So here is a little tutorial on how we did this without drilling into our banisters.  You can purchase kits to do this, but they're pretty expensive and unnecessary, in my opinion.  This is an easy do-it-yourself solution.

First of all, some information on our gates.  We got some great gates from our friends who no longer needed them - Evenflo Top of Stair gate.  I like the way the latch works, and you can open and close it with one hand and it is virtually silent (which is great for sleeping babies).  They are also completely removable (in that you can detach the gate from the hinges and put it away if you don't need it for some period of time).  This is useful for us, because the babies can't climb the stairs yet.  Once they learn to climb the steps, we can just pop the gate on, and we're ready to go.

The bottom of our stairs originally looked like this:

We have a banister on either side with a very irregularly shaped bottom section (lots of different thicknesses of wood meeting).  I really didn't want to drill into the banister.  Even though you could fill the holes someday with wood putty, you would definitely be able to see where the gate had been.  So we decided to go for a heavy duty zip tie solution.

We went to Lowe's and purchased a 2 x 4 and heavy duty zip ties.  These are the zip ties that we bought:

They are 2 feet long, and they are rated for 175 pounds each.  I figure with 4 of these securing each of our 2x4s, surely the babies will not be able to pull these off (unless they can pull with 700 lbs of force).  Miles is strong, but he's not that strong.

We cut the 2x4 into to pieces that are about the same height as the widest section of the banister.  Here is what they looked like in the raw wood form:

Notice the cat, who is not excited about an additional barrier to escaping up the stairs.

Not bad, but I know that these will be up for quite a while, so I decided to paint them white.  After a couple coats of white semi-gloss, they looked much better.

We attached the boards to the banisters using 4 zip ties on each of them (2 at the top and 2 at the bottom).  We pulled these ties very tight.  It's imperative that these ties be as tight as you can get them so that the 2x4 pieces can't move.

Then, Jason installed the brackets directly onto the 2 x 4s.

Vivienne is ensuring that he is installing the gates correctly.
Here is what the finished product looks like:

It doesn't look bad at all.  In fact, I would almost go as far as to say that this looks pretty.  =)  We didn't have to drill a single hold into our existing structure, and it was an extremely easy task.  The entire project cost us less than $10 (for the wood and the zip ties), because we got the gate for free (thanks, Eddie and Rhonda!).

And, finally, here is a baby's-eye view.

"I can dream of walking up these stairs unhindered someday.  Someday..."

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Developmental Update

It has been a while since I wrote about the developments in the babies.  They continue to change every day.  It's fascinating to watch them grow.

Vivienne has her two bottom teeth, and her top 4 front teeth are all coming in at the same time.  Miles has one top and one bottom tooth in already, and he has one more tooth coming in on top and one on bottom.

Vivienne has finally started crawling.  She has this funny crawl where she sticks her right leg out straight to the side.  It's really cute.  At first, she always crawled like this, and now she's learning that she can actually bend that knee and crawl like a normal baby.  It is so fun to watch her follow her brother around the house.  Miles is still much more efficient with his crawling and tends to outrun her, though she is getting faster every day.

Neither of our babies have taken a pacifier, but they always suck their thumbs while they are falling asleep.  Over the past week, Miles has started sucking hist thumb occasionally during the day.  This seems to happen when he is tired.  He will crawl up in my lap and let me snuggle and rock him.  It's incredibly sweet.  I love it when he does this.

Miles and Vivienne are still breastfeeding.  They only nurse about 3 or 4 times a day, because they are eating a lot of solid food now.  We still only give them water in their sippy cups (and no juice or cow's milk), so they either drink water from the sippies or they drink mother's milk from the source.

Though my babies don't go to daycare, I feel that they are very well socialized.  They stay in the nursery at church every Sunday morning, and they stay with a babysitter (with anywhere from 2 to 6 other kids) during another meeting that I have on Tuesdays.  We have a playgroup that we meet with about once a week and another group of mommies and kiddos that we meet with regularly.  On Wednesdays, we always get lunch with my friend, Kristi, and her four beautiful children.  We rarely spend an entire day at home, and we are often out and about playing with other babies or getting errands done.

I still run with the babies almost every day.  I have been slacking off over the past 3 days, because it has been ridiculously hot (at or above 100 degrees).  The babies seem to really enjoy the time in the stroller.  They don't cry, and they usually babble or laugh at each other while I'm running.  I think they like getting out and seeing the sky and the trees.  I can't wait until they are old enough to see the animals (bunnies, snakes, turtles, deer, geese, ducks, herons, etc).

Miles is already starting to outgrow his 12 month clothes.  Vivienne is still a petite little angel, and can easily fit into 9 month clothes, even with the cloth diapers.  Speaking of cloth diapers, we're still cloth diapering them.  It's really not very much work, and it's definitely less expensive than purchasing disposable diapers (even with coupons).

Both babies say "da da da" and "ma ma ma" and a lot of other sounds, but I don't think they really know who "Dadda" and "Mamma" are yet.  I think it will be difficult to figure out when they finally make that association.

Miles and Vivienne love books.  We read to them every single night before bed, and I often read to them throughout the day when they show interest in their books.  Their favorites right now are Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See? and Goodnight, Moon.

Friday, July 22, 2011

Priceless Birthday Cards

We got lots of wonderful gifts for the babies' first birthdays from family and friends.  Some of our favorite things were hand-crafted cards by some of Cary's finest local artists.

From Dave, Leigh, Lucy, Gus and Judson

From the Talented (and VERY Lovable) Chloe

From the Fabulously Gifted  Local Artist, Josh

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Daniels' Running Formula

Miles loves reading his Daddy's books. You gotta walk before you run, Buddy. Literally. =)

Monday, July 18, 2011

Happy Birthday, Miles & Vivienne!

It is hard to believe that one year ago today, we were visiting Miles in the Special Care Nursery, pushing Vivienne along in the bassinet so that we could all be together.  Our tiny 6 and 6.5 pound babies had come into the world to join us... and to change our worlds forever.

Miles was born first, and he is our spunky, energetic first-born.  He has eyes that are blue like the sky, and a mischievous grin that warms my heart.  He was born with a head full of dark hair, and he has the most fabulous bed head I've ever seen.  (He would make a great rock star someday with that hair.)  He is daring and bold, but he's also sensitive and super cuddly.  He loves to watch the tops of the trees blowing in the wind.  He loves to be in the water with his Daddy.

Vivienne was our Baby B.  She is small and sweet and has the face of an angel.  She is honestly the most beautiful baby that I have ever seen.  (No offense, Miles.  You are a ruggedly handsome little man.)  She has huge steely blue eyes that could melt the heart of the Grinch himself.  (Cindy Lou Who has nothing on her.)  We can't help but smile when she giggles.  She is pretty and petite and incredibly charming.  She loves to clap and wave at everyone and "make eyes" at the people sitting next to us - she has never known a stranger.   She claps and squeals when Daddy walks in the door from work.

Oh, my precious Miles and Vivienne, there is so much to say that I don't know where to start.  I guess there are a million posts in my head that I could write about what this past year has meant to me.  I think the best way to sum it up is to say that I see the glory of God in your smiles.  Life is more full than I could have ever imagined with you two in my life.  I cannot wait to celebrate each passing year that God blesses me with the opportunity to be your mother and watch you grow.

I love you to pieces.  Happy birthday, my sweet, sweet Miles and Vivienne.



Saturday, July 16, 2011

Vivienne's First Crawl (Video)

Vivienne Crawls!

We knew today would be a big day, with Miles and Vivienne's first birthday party.  But today started out with another big event - Vivienne crawled!  Yes, folks, she crawled only 2 days before her first birthday.  I'm so proud of her for gaining this new skill, and I'm sure that she is going to start scooting all around the house with her brother before the week is over!

First Birthday Party

I can't believe it.  My sweet Miles and Vivienne will be one year old on Monday.  Unbelievable.

Today, we had their first birthday party at Buehler Picnic Shelter at Bond Park.  For the past couple weeks, the weather has been uncomfortably hot - in the upper 90s.  Today, God gave us a perfect day for a party.  This morning, it was in the low 80s with lots of white puffy clouds.

We had our closest friends and family come to celebrate our beautiful babies' first birthday with us.  Grandma and Grandpa (Fox) drove down from Indiana yesterday.  Grandma and Granddad (Smith) weren't able to come, because Granddad is still recovering from surgery.  They were definitely missed.

Grandma and Grandpa (Fox)

Our amazing postpartum doula, Pam
 I made the babies' smash cakes.  After my two rounds of prototypes, they turned out to be very pretty.  I was proud of my work.  =)

We served lunch - deli meats, kaiser rolls, chips and watermelon.  After lunch, we put the babies in their high chairs to get ready for the smash cakes.  I asked the crowd not to applaud or cheer after we sang "Happy Birthday" because I knew Miles would get startled and cry.  We couldn't get the candles to stay lit with the wind, so we blew out pretend flames.  We sang "Happy Birthday" successfully and then the babies began testing the cakes.

Everything was going great.  And then this happened...

And then everybody started laughing - laughing loudly.  And then this happened...

Miles got very upset and started bawling his eyes out.  We quickly rescued him and Jason took him to the edge of the woods to calm him down.  Meanwhile, Vivienne thoroughly enjoyed her smash cake and happily garnered all of the attention.

Daddy is trying to calm down a startled Miles.

Vivienne soaks up the attention while Miles takes a break.

This is the large cake that we bought for the crowd.

She clearly did not enjoy her cake.  ;-)
After Miles calmed down, Jason took his high chair to the side and helped him get comfortable tasting his cake.  With a little encouragement from Daddy, Miles started slowly eating some of his cake. 

See?  Daddy likes it!

After Miles was comfortable with his cake, we moved him back over beside Vivienne so that we could get pictures of them together.

Greg comes over to inspect their work.


After about 20 minutes of cake eating, the babies started to go into a food coma.  We decided it was time to get them cleaned up.  Here is the aftermath:

I would like to be sure that it's clear that we did not assist Vivienne in the demolishing of her cake in any way.  She did this all by herself.  I'm such a proud momma.

Miles' cake on the left and Vivienne's cake on the right

Luckily, there was a water spigot at the side of the picnic shelter.  The water wasn't very cold, so we stripped the babies down to their birthday suits (How appropriate!!) and they had a rather pleasant post-cake baby bath.

Pam helps get the water started and Caleb oversees our progress.

Vivienne and Miles loved the refreshing water.

A perfect modesty pose

I completely forgot to take time today to thank everyone for coming and to thank them for all they have done to support and pour into our family.  We are so blessed to have such wonderful friends and family who love us and our children so well.  We thank God for bringing you into our lives.

Thanks to everyone who helped make today happen - Keith & Lila, Kris, Stephanie, and Melissa & Brad.  Thanks to everyone who came to join us in celebrating the first year of our beautiful babies' lives.  Oh, what a year it has been!

Today was a perfect day.  It was a day we will never forget.  Happy birthday, Miles & Vivienne!