Monday, January 26, 2015

Weaning

I knew I wanted to breastfeed before the girls were born. When they were born at 34 weeks I had no idea how it all would work. Luckily, both girls were nursing within their first few days of life with the help of a nipple shield for my flat nipples.

I was amazed that my little 3 1/2 pound baby could nurse so well. Early on I didn't want to say my goal out loud because it seemed so far off. I wanted to nurse my girls for the first 12 months of their lives.

There were so many days it just didn't seem possible. With Lucy's oral aversion and serious lack of weight gain I received lots of pressure to supplement or fortify my breastmilk. 

Despite what the drs were telling me, I trusted my gut and my body to provide for my daughters. I knew Clara was gaining well on my milk and that the issue was getting Lucy to eat more than anything else. 

Around 7 months we got over the hump. There were still bad days, but my goal of 12 months actually seemed obtainable. 

At 11 months old Lucy broke her femur. I had to learn how to nurse her in a body cast. When the surgeon found out I wanted to continue to nurse despite the cast she practically rolled her eyes at me. With fierce indignation I said to her that if I made it 11 months a cast wasn't stopping me from meeting my goal. We figured things out and persevered. 

When their birthday rolled around I was so proud of us. Proud of myself and my body to meeting my personal goal, but also proud of my girls for making it possible. 

So now here were are at 16 1/2 months old. Up until last week I was still nursing first thing in the morning and before bed. Most nights Lucy would nurse around 3 am as well (at a minimum). I knew the girls were getting more ready to eat food in the mornings so on this past Saturday we dropped the morning feeding. 

I'm not going to lie, I cried, but the girls did great. We had sippy cups ready for them and gave them cups in their room when they first woke up. 

Today was day 3 without nursing in the morning. I've also started to cut back on the length of time they're nursing before bed. Rather than letting them go until they're satisfied, I'm cutting them off after a minute or two and offering a sippy with breastmilk. They've done great with this as well. 

Lucy is still wanting to nurse at night but less. I'm also cutting her off shortly after she starts and then offering her a paci. Last night she wasn't thrilled about this and would initially cry, but then resettled fairly quickly. 

My hope is to have them completely weaned over the next week or two. It's really hard and sad for me because I know I'll miss those snuggles and the power of the boob.  

I never had a plan beyond 12 months and I'm glad to be finding and falling into one. I'm definitely the last one standing among my friends when it comes to nursing. 

Wish me luck as we close this huge chapter that was the last 16 month of our lives. 

Thursday, January 15, 2015

Keeping Toddlers Busy

Most days we go somewhere during the day. It's nice to get out of the house and I find the girls are much happier that way too. The problem is, they've gotten used to it. With it being so incredibly cold and having the possibility of lots of snow any given day, staying home some days needs to be an option. 

So, this crafty mama get herself on pinterest and searched for some toddler activities. 

Around the time we got our Christmas tree I made the girls their own tree out of felt. I hoped this way they would play with their tree rather than ours since we didn't gate it or make it inaccessible. I cut out ornaments out of felt and we decorated. No Velcro needed, the ornaments stuck to the tree. The girls loved pulling the pieces off and putting them on. It really was a big hit! I've also seen this idea done with a jack-o-lantern and snowman so it's not christmas specific. 

This week I jumped back on this idea of having structured activities for the girls during the day. 

The next activity was buttons. I went to AC Moore and bought a bunch of fun buttons. I bought a variety pack and then also 2 small packs of cat and dog buttons since those are familiar things that Lucy and Clara recognize. Then I bought little bottles. The idea was to cut a slit in the top of the bottle and have the girls put the buttons in. I have yet to be fully successful with the slit so we just took the tops off. Lucy and Clara have seriously spent hours putting buttons in and dumping them out. This is obviously a highly supervised activity, but they love it!! 


Even though we cloth diaper and primarily use cloth wipes, we also buy disposable wipes ones for on the go. I definitely learned the hard way (maybe too many times) that the girls loved pulling the wipes out. They once got their hands on a box of tissues and they pulled them ALL out. So, I used old wipes containers and made them a toy. I took odds and ends of fabric and ripped it into strips. Then I knotted the ends together and made a long string of fabric. I stuffed the whole thing into the wipes container and then pulled the little end out of the top. Now the girls can pull out "wipes" to their hearts content. Definitely a big hit!  

I have more ideas on the horizon but I'm trying to limit them to one per day maximum so I don't use up all of my ideas despite my excitement. It's amazing how some of the best "toys" are once that are homemade, easy, cheap, and occasionally even on-hand. 









Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Twins Tip: Shots

For our last round of shots we tried something new. My friend Natasha told us how they did their shots and we decided it was worth trying. 

Usually we have both girls in the room and they take turns with the shots. We used to have Clara go first because she got so upset and then Walt would take her out of the building (usually screaming). Lucy would always be upset at the start of her shots and we'd inevitably be leaving the office with two screaming babies. 

This time we tried separating them. W waited first in the room with Clara while I waited with an undressed and ready Lucy in the hallway. W said Clara didn't even cry for the first shot, but he took her down the hallway crying as I went in the room. Lucy didn't cry for her first 2 shots and she calmed down very quickly. 

Since I didn't hear Clara screaming I assumed W had taken her to the car. Instead, as I walked down the hallway to checkout I saw him there holding Clara with a piece of paper in his hands. Not only was Clara calm, but he had also checked us out and scheduled their next appointment. 

I really wish I had figured this out sooner. The girls were obviously feeding off of each other and making themselves much more upset. Even though the majority of their shots are done, I'm still planning to use this tactic for any further appointments. 

Monday, January 12, 2015

#MicroblogMondays- Treat Yo Self

I'm not great about putting myself first anymore. I put Lucy and Clara before myself almost always. When we go shopping I tend to buy cute things for them rather than myself. It had been at least a year since I had gotten my hair done. 

My sister was out this weekend and I decided to take advantage of the fact that she's a cosmetologist. I had her cut and highlight my hair for me and I love how it came out. Despite my perms in middle school I've never actually dyed my hair. I've had a ton of new hair growth since having the girls and I practically have bangs without ever cutting any or trying. My sister did a nice job of cutting my hair to better mask all of my crazy little hairs growing in the front. 
My new dew!
My crazy hair last weekend. 
I've also been making an effort to buy clothes for myself. I love buying stylish clothes for the girls but I realized it was silly they always looked so great and I was wearing the same things as always. Comfort was winning out. So lately I've purchased some items for myself. I realized I feel better about myself when I put a little more effort into my appearance. 

I've totally cut processed foods from my diet. We bought the book 100 Days of Real Food and have been following the recipes and guidelines there. I've started making my own bread and other items like hummus. We are still eating dairy (organic) and bread (whole grain) so I'm not dieting. I'm just trying to make a lifestyle change for everyone and so far it's going great. I'd be happy to share recipes or meal plans if anyone is interested. 

W and I started PiYo a few weeks ago as well. It was tough to stick to the schedule with my sister in town this past weekend, but otherwise we've been doing well with it. We've only done 3 different workouts so far and they definitely range in difficulty. I had been wanting to try PiYo for quite some time and love that it's just a video to pop in. It doesn't require motivating to get to the gym and arranging childcare. 

I'm making an effort to put myself first more often and it really does feel nice. I've gotten some new clothes, cut and dyed my hair, changed the way I'm eating, and started exercising regularly. Already I feel so much better. I hope it lasts!

16 Months Old


Another month has flown by and Lucy and Clara are another month older, bigger, and smarter. This month we celebrated their second Christmas and the girls really got into it. I made them a felt tree with ornaments that they loved decorating it day after day. They also loved the Frosty the snowman singing stuffed toy we have. They got into opening presents and loved all of their new toys.

The girls are still napping twice a day. Their typical day is something like: get up around 7 and nurse. Around 8:15 we go downstairs for breakfast. They take a morning nap from 9:30-11ish and then get their sippy cups with milk after. We do lunch around 12:15 and then they take an afternoon nap from 2:30/3-4:15ish and then have an afternoon snack when they wake up. We do dinner around 6:30, baths at 7:15 and then it's a story, nursing, and bed. I'm not sure when we'll go to 1 nap a day but I know the girls still need their morning nap so it might be a while. Lucy seems to need less sleep than Clara regularly. The girls definitely went through a growth spurt and are growing out of their clothes left and right. Things I just bought already don't fit. They're in mostly 12-18 month clothing. 




15 Month Pediatrician appointment

Going for a hike on a semi-warm day.
Lobster dinner on New Years Day. 
Early morning with Daddy. 
Everyone is working hard in the kitchen. 
Looking for our Christmas tree

Eddy helping the girls with their snack


The girls weren't a fan of Santa
Watching Daddy hang Christmas lights






Lucy and Clara are fighting and loving each other more and more. They both will try to bite and hit each other when frustrated but then will also comfort one another by sharing toys or giving the other one a lovey or paci. It's seriously so sweet. I would say they play nicely together about 80% of the time. If there's ever 1 of anything they will find it and fight over it. I guess that's what sisters do though. 

Lucy- Your little personality has really started to come out and it appears you're a sneaky little devil. You think it's funny to do things you know you aren't supposed to do and then have this great fake laugh that accompanies it. You've really gotten into walking and can take about 7-8 steps consistently before falling. This month was crazy for you with teething. You got 6 new teeth including 2 molars on the top popping through that I had no idea were there until I felt them the other day. I was so excited and surprised to find them there. For some reason when you're teething you get constipated so that's been a challenge recently. We refer to your little frequent poops as "butt nuggets." You're so much better for your physical therapy sessions and we're seeing real progress. This month was tough with eating because of all the teething, but you seem to be back in it. You love new foods and are a much more adventurous eater than your sister (for now at least). Your sleep was really bad at times this month but the past few days you've finally gotten back to going longer stretches. Your speech and language really took off this month and you are consistently saying 5-10 words and using about 10 signs. You are imitating like crazy and love to tell me my food is "hot" right before I take my first bite. You and your sister love to act silly together. You really got into Elmo this month and will try to sing the Elmo song yourself. You often will find one of our phones and start to try to sing the song as a way to tell us you want to watch/see it.

So many teeth coming in!

Clara- You're such a silly little girl. If we ask you, "where's silly Clara?" you'll tilt your head back and roll around on your back. It's so cute and funny. Your sister loves to join in on the fun. You're getting better at walking and give in to the peer pressure of your sister doing it so decide to join in. You can take about 4-5 steps consistently without falling. You definitely have to be in the mood though. This month you got 3 new teeth so now have a total of 8. You're working on molars and almost always have a finger in your mouth. Hopefully they will pop through soon and give you some relief. Teething seems to make you cranky and kills your appetite. This past month you also got sick for the first time and I think that also affected your appetite. You aren't very into new foods but love fruit, especially strawberries and pomegranate. You're more interested in using your silverware and will try hard to use a spoon or fork. You still slept pretty well this past month despite teething. There were a few nights that you woke up, but most nights you went your solid 11-12 hours. You have 2 words you say "yum-yum" and "hot" and you use about 10 signs consistently. This month you learned the signs for "up" and "help" and you are great at using them. You're also understanding so much more and following directions more consistently. You aren't really imitating consistently yet but hopefully Lucy will influence you there. You still love to play and are so focused during play. You have a great attention span and persist when frustrated. You're getting better at puzzles and love doing them with me. You also love Elmo and will try to sing the Elmo song with your sister.




I can't believe how fast time is going by. The girls really are changing from babies into little toddlers with personalities and preferences. I love watching all of the changes.




Sunday, January 4, 2015

2014 in Review

This year was an absolutely wonderful year. It's crazy to think that the girls weren't born this past year, they're already that old!

In January we survived our first sickness and fevers from the girls. I stopped letting Lucy sleep long stretches at night and started waking her up to feed her (we still haven't gotten those long stretches back consistently.) The girls really started to notice each other and would hold hands regularly while nursing. We celebrated our 1 year anniversary of our embryo transfer and Clara giggled for the first time.

In February we celebrated my nephews first birthday, Lucy rolled over for the first time, we attended some mama baby yoga classes and the girls really started playing with toys. We booked our trip to Mexico and met with a GI specialist for Lucy's reflux and oral aversion. The girls also had their first taste of pureed foods and took their first bath together. 







March brought our much needed family vacation to Mexico. During that trip I mostly stopped tandem nursing and Lucy started doing so much better. She suddenly became a happy and social baby. We almost didn't get to go on our vacation due to passport issues and W getting a stomach bug. Luckily it all worked out.







In April Lucy and Clara got to try out the swing for the first time and loved it! I also celebrated the girls being on the outside (34 weeks) as long as they were inside.




In May I celebrated my first Mother's day and the girls were baptized. We started swim lessons at the Y and both girls started sitting up independently. The got to start taking regular baths together. 




June brought the switch from purees to baby led weaning. Lucy being in control of her own food helped her with her eating so much. We went from 3 naps a day to 2 and got some not so great news about our dog Pepper.





In July we took another family vacation to Maine. We had a great trip and I loved watching Lucy devour lobster. We went strawberry picking with friends, took the girls on their first boat ride, went to the lavender festival, and had our first twin play date with friends. I supported my step sister through her first IVF cycle, stopped pumping (yay!!), and Clara got her first tooth.







In August we celebrated my 31st birthday at a Multiple Mom's family picnic. Unfortunately the next morning W slipped on the stairs with Lucy and broke her femur. August was a rough month with the spica cast and sickness for the girls. Lucy also got her first two teeth. Without the help and support from friends and family I never would have survived. Clara started crawling and took our first trip to the zoo. 





September marked Lucy and Clara's first birthday! We had a big party with tons of friends and family. My friend Tamara catered the party and it was so much fun. We celebrated keeping the girls alive for a year and me making it to my goal of a year breastfeeding. Lucy got her cast off on her birthday (best present ever!!!), the girls took their first trip to the New York State Fair, went apple picking, Clara got her upper lip tie clipped, and Lucy got evaluated and qualified for early intervention physical therapy. We celebrated W's 33rd Birthday and I decided I wanted to look into becoming a board certified lactation consultant. I'd still like to do this but am waiting for the hospital to approve it. We also had our family photos taken by my friend Stacy. 







In October we celebrated our fifth wedding anniversary, went pumpkin picking with friends, went to a fall festival at MacKenzie Childs, I got my new Subaru Outback, and we spent as much time as possible enjoying the beautiful fall weather. We also carved pumpkins with our good friends Jesse and Caitlin (plus their two little ones) and Lucy and Clara dressed up as cabbage patch kids for Halloween. 



November brought the celebration of Friendsgiving and regular Thanksgiving. We went to Albany and drove through about 8 inches of snow to get there. I was able to see my best friend growing up and she met the girls. We also met up with a friend from high school to check out the museum of play with her son that was 3 days older than the girls. I worked quite a bit doing speech evaluations. 






In December I worked quite a bit and made lots of Christmas presents by hand. We had a play date with friends and exchanged gifts for the babies and then later in the month had a girls night out where we exchanged gifts with each other. Both girls took their first series of real steps and on the same night. We took Clara to a pediatric eye doctor. We celebrated Christmas Eve with my in laws and Christmas morning at home. The girls were really interested in opening presents and loved that they received stuffed Elmo toys. We also got them a play kitchen. We survived a stomach bug and rang in the new year at home on the couch. 





The past few years I answered the following questions and always enjoy reading back. I'm going to keep the tradition going. 

What did you do in 2014 that you'd never done before? 
Flew on a plane and traveled internationally with twins
Got professional family photos taken
Made a majority of my Christmas gifts
Looked into pursuing certification in lactation consulting

Did you keep your resolutions and will you make more for this year?
For some reason I can't find where I wrote the ones for last year. I had said I wanted to branch out and make more mommy friends. That was a huge success and I hope to continue to spend time with these great mommies. 
This year I'm focusing on being healthier. I'm hoping to avoid/drastically cut my consumption of processed foods and added sugar. I'd like to exercise more regularly and get my PCOS under control. All of those things fall under maintaining and improving my health. A big drive to do this is for Clara and Lucy. I want to get them off processed food as much as possible and eating real, whole foods.  

Did anyone close to you give birth?
My good friend Caitlin welcomed a baby boy on the 4th of July. 

Did anyone close to you die?
My step mom's brother died but we weren't close. 

What countries did you visit?
Mexico. We went to the Riviera Maya in March with the girls. We're hoping to go again this year. 

What would you like to have in 2015 that you lacked in 2014?
It's not something that was lacking, but I'm hoping we can work on and improve our communication and marriage. It's much harder with the girls and having a good marriage means actually putting work into it. Life is stressful with twins but I'm hoping we won't take that stress out on each other as much as we did last year. 

What dates will be etched upon your memory, and why?
August 4th- Lucy broke her femur. It was one of the worst days of my life. 
September 3rd- We celebrated Lucy and Clara's first birthday and Lucy got her cast off. 
October 10th- Our 5th wedding anniversary
December 22nd- Both girls took their first real steps 

What was your biggest achievement of the year?
Keeping twins alive for their first year. We didn't do it without any broken bones, but they're alive!
Reaching my 1 year goal of breastfeeding

What was your biggest failure?
Dealing with Lucy's oral aversion was so tough for me. I felt like a failure so many times because of it. 

Did you suffer illness or injury?
This seemed to be the year of the stomach bug. W was sick with it twice and I got it once. Clara also got a stomach bug on Christmas Eve. 
My cycles returned in the fall but were very long and my hormones felt like they were all over the place at times. 

What was the best thing you bought?
My Subaru outback
W got me an anniversary ring with diamonds and sapphires

Where did most of your money go?
Mortgage, bills, food, car, endless amounts of cute baby things

What did you get really excited about? 
A trip to Mexico with the girls, Lucy getting her cast off, a vacation in Maine, making new mommy friends, meeting developmental milestones, and celebrating Christmas with the girls. 

What songs will always remind you of 2014?
Shake it Off and Welcome to New York by Taylor Swift, Let Her Go by Passenger, and Counting Stars by One Republic. We sang a lot of Don't Worry Be Happy to the girls too. 

Compared to this time last year are you:
Happier or Sadder? About the same- extremely happy
Thinner or Fatter? Thinner. I've been staying at around 10 pounds below my pre-baby weight. 
Richer or Poorer? Maybe a little richer? W had a busy year at work! I also started working more. 

What do you wish you'd done more of?
Staying patient and embracing chaos, lol

What do you wish you'd done less of? 
Worring about Lucy's weight gain and progress. Deep down I guess I knew she'd be okay but it took changing pediatricians and not listening to what others said. 

How did you spend Christmas?
We went to my in-laws house for Christmas Eve but Clara was sick with a stomach bug so I had a hard time relaxing and enjoying myself. On Christmas morning we had my parents, their friend, and my in laws over. Unfortunately, a large chunk of those people got Clara's stomach bug as well. This past weekend my dad and step mom came out to celebrate with us and next weekend my sister, BiL and nephew will come. That reminds me, I still haven't gotten my nephew a present. 

What was your favorite TV program?
We started watching the Walking Dead on Netflix. I liked American Horror Story as well. 

What was your favorite book of the year?
I only read a few and they were The Fault in Our Stars, The Orphan Train, I Heart my Little A Holes, The Light Between Oceans, The Language of Flowers, Eleanor & Park, Heaven is for Real, and the Time Keeper. I think the Light Between Oceans was my favorite. 

What were your favorite films of the year?
We saw the Hunger Games last weekend and really enjoyed it. I also love documentaries and watched Forks over Knives, How to Die in Oregon, Happy, and Fed Up.

What did you do on your birthday and how old were you?
We celebrated my 31st birthday at a picnic for mom's of multiples. It was a ton of fun!

What's one thing that would have made your year immeasurably more satisfying?
Honestly, nothing

What kept you sane?
My mommy friends, especially those who also went through infertility. Also having lots of family support helped. 

Tell us valuable lessons you learned in 2014:
I was right when it came to trusting my gut most of the time. 
Getting the right doctor for your child is important. 
A marriage takes work to maintain and doing so while having young children is tough, but important. 


2014, like most years, certainly had its ups and downs. Luckily there was a whole lot more up than down. I'm hoping 2015 will continue that trend. I can't wait to see how much my girls grow and change this next year.